Throughout the campaign season, WARD ROOM has provided weekly mayoral odds, handicapping the February 22 contest. For the final mayoral odds post before the big night, we've added a wrinkle, we're taking a stab at predicting what percentage of the vote each candidate will receive on election night.
RAHM EMANUEL: Throughout the campaign, I’ve heard that all the candidates’ internal polling numbers have Emanuel between 40 and 45 percent. Something tells me he’s still there. If Emanuel thought he was headed for a landslide, first-round victory next Tuesday, he would have let union leader Jim Sweeney’s “Judas” comment slide. Instead, he cried anti-Semitism, indulging in the kind of identity politics he’s promised to end by winning with a multi-racial coalition. After spending most of the campaign ignoring his opponents, Emanuel also aired an ad attacking Chico for attacking his tax plan. Thursday’s debate was a wash. Emanuel was disengaged and recited his platform instead of debating, but even when moderator Ron Magers invited his opponents to take a shot at him for earning $18 million in two years, they didn’t reveal any new information.
PREDICTION: 46 percent.
GERY CHICO: Chico has hammered Emanuel all week. He’s attacked his rival for growing up in the “safety and privilege” of Wilmette. He’s called him a “pathological evader of the truth” for sending city workers a letter telling them their pensions won’t be cut. He’s accused him of “trying to divide the city along religious lines” for calling the “Judas” comment anti-Semitic. During Thursday’s debate, he tried to ask Emanuel about his role in the Freddie Mac accounting scandal that “cost the taxpayers $585 million.” Is this the desperation of a second-place candidate trying to claw his way into a runoff, or a warmup for Round Two? Both. PREDICTION: 24 percent
CAROL MOSELEY BRAUN: This week, Moseley Braun received the endorsement of the Chicago Defender. While expressing disappointment at her “petty arguments with marginal candidates,” (calling Patricia Watkins a crackhead), the Defender concluded the “Carol Moseley is clearly the most qualified. She has expressed a vision for Chicago that doesn’t hide behind Daley’s machine, that doesn’t stress Washington connections…and isn’t built upon community activism and little else.” Take that Chico, Emanuel and del Valle. Moseley Braun has no support outside the black community, so she’s depending on her constituency to make the runoff. In Thursday’s debate, she tried to rally her base by claiming Emanuel had voted against the Congressional Black Caucus 128 times. But thanks to her gaffes, and Obama’s endorsement of Emanuel, she’ll be lucky to get half. Also, as the Census figures released this week showed us, Chicago’s black community is shrinking. PREDICTION: 14 percent
MIGUEL DEL VALLE: All my friends are voting for Miguel del Valle. That only means that I live too far north and hang out with too many hipsters and non-profit employees. Del Valle has run the most valiant campaign of any candidate. With almost no money, he has spoken out for political reform, neighborhood empowerment, getting the city out of Chicagoans’ by suing to overturn the parking meter deal -- all the issues the better-funded winner will ignore once he becomes mayor. It’s been inspiring to watch del Valle, who began this race as a mild-mannered city clerk, find his voice as the populist champion of the downtrodden and the fed-up. He gave the most sensible answer at Thursday’s debate, calling Emanuel’s service tax proposal ludicrous, because this General Assembly will never approve another tax increase. Unfortunately for del Valle, Latinos and progressives won't put him over the top. PREDICTION: 13 percent
PATRICIA WATKINS: Gets an extra sympathy point for being called a crackhead.
PREDICTION: 2 percent
WILLIAM “DOCK” WALLS: Nanotechnology is not an idea whose time has come. Walls is not a candidate whose time has come, either.
PREDICTION: 1 percent