Both of Chicago's mayoral candidates did their part to promote Early Vote by casting their own ballots on Thursday morning.
Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia and his wife, Evelyn, late Wednesday announced they would cast ballots at at 9 a.m. at Piotrowski Park, in the city's 22nd Ward. Mayor Rahm Emanuel followed suit hours later, alerting the media that he would cast his ballot at the same time downtown, at the Chicago Board of Elections office.
Through Wednesday night, more than 100,000 residents had taken part in Early Voting and nearly 58,000 had filed applications for vote-by-mail ballots.
Both candidates spoke of what they see as high stakes in the city's first runoff.
"Judging from the reception that I have received in all the neighborhoods of Chicago that I've been, there's a great enthusiasm," said Garcia, who was able to vote despite problems with two voting machines. "I feel really positive about the early vote. I think it favors my candidacy."
Emanuel didn't speak to whom he thought the early ballots favored but said it showed how important the election is.
"The Early Vote ... is big," he said. "I think people realize this is a big election. We have big challenges. On the other hand, we also have big opportunities."
The April 7 runoff is extra special in the Emanuel household; It's the first election in which the mayor's son can cast a ballot.
"I don’t know if I’m going to get in trouble with Amy, but this is actually Zach’s first election. He was not old enough on Feb. 24, so his first election is this," the mayor said.
"He’s undecided. It’s a jump ball," Emanuel joked. "He can take out a lot on his dad right now. I’m in a very vulnerable position."
Early Voting ends Saturday, with Election Day following on Tuesday.