Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Emanuel and Dart are the Willis Tower and the John Hancock Center

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Emanuel and Dart are the Willis Tower and the John Hancock Center
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Do we already know the identity of the finalists in the mayor’s race? Is the Election Of A Lifetime going to be a predictable dud, less dramatic than a season of Dancing With the Stars?

According to a new poll released by mayoral considerer Luis Gutierrez, former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart are towering over the competition. To compare this field to the Chicago skyline, they’re the Willis Tower and the John Hancock Center. Everyone else here is the Wrigley Building.

Here are the results of the poll, conducted Oct. 5-7 by Lincoln Park Strategies, a Washington, D.C., polling firm:

 Rahm Emanuel 27 percent
 Tom Dart   19 percent
 Carol Moseley Braun 9 percent
 Luis Gutierrez  8 percent
 Danny Davis  6 percent
 James Meeks  5 percent
 Miguel del Valle 3 percent
 Bob Fioretti  2 percent
 Gery Chico  2 percent

Since the campaign has barely begun, these numbers are obviously the result of name recognition. When Emanuel returned to Chicago, for his daylong listening tour of taquerias and bowling alleys, the local TV stations did everything but interrupt their NFL coverage to show his plane landing at O’Hare. Dart was named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People, and won a flattering profile in Chicago magazine after halting foreclosures in 2008. Moseley Braun is well remembered for her inept term as a United States Senator, which is probably why she’s only getting 9 percent.

Even so, Emanuel and Dart seem positioned to attract the most campaign funds, the most volunteers, and the most talented campaign strategists. That doesn’t mean there’s no point in staying in the race for the rest of the candidates. Since the election is certain to go to a runoff, minor candidates can extract political favors from Dart and Emanuel in exchange for endorsements. The five weeks of horse-trading before the final will probably be more interesting than the five months it takes to get there.

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