Mayor's Race in Full Swing for Busy St. Patrick's Day Weekend | NBC Chicago
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Mayor's Race in Full Swing for Busy St. Patrick's Day Weekend

Both candidates participated in the two parades, but their schedules did not end there

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A new poll out shows Mayor Rahm Emanuel widening his lead in the runoff election. (Published Monday, March 16, 2015)

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Jesus "Chuy" Garcia marched on the campaign trail in this busy St. Patrick's Day weekend, and their recent efforts appear to have had an effect on the poll numbers.

    The poll that last week showed Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Jesus "Chuy" Garcia virtually tied now shows Emanuel in the lead, but still below 50 percent. With a 10-point lead over Garcia, Emanuel still sits at roughly 47 percent, but he will need a majority to ensure a victory April 7.

    While the downtown St. Patrick's Day parade stepped off with both candidates in tow, Garcia received a boost of a different kind in the form of an endorsement from a major union -- SEIU. Tom Balanoff, president of the Illinois Council for the union, not only threw his support for Garcia, but he also took a shot at President Obama, who endorsed Emanuel back in February.

    On Sunday, both candidates marched in the South Side Irish Parade, but Emanuel was also busy proving he and Gov. Bruce Rauner are not buddies after all.

    Emanuel attended a rally Sunday that criticized the governor's state budget cuts, especially the $28 million in cuts for parks.

    "When the governor first said we're going to have shared sacrifice, I didn't realize he meant women and children and families first," the mayor said.

    Gov. Rauner's office said the event was incorrectly portrayed because the Park District is actually sitting on $308 million in reserves. A spokesperson for the mayor shot back and said Rauner's estimation is "absolutely not true." The mayor's office alleged there is only $150 million.

    Garcia meanwhile received the official endorsement from Balanoff in an event Sunday after the parade.

    "We know at SEIU that it's important we level this playing field. We can't just have the voice of the millionaires," Balanoff said.

    At the parade Sunday, the chants rang loud and clear for Garcia, but that does not mean they will translate into votes. Emanuel was also front and center in the procession, and Sunday's poll numbers put him a skip ahead of Garcia.

    "Rather than go back to the politics of the past -- and in my view, the policies of the past -- we're being clear about where we need to go as a city together," Emanuel said.

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