Candidates hoping to unseat Mayor Rahm Emanuel have another opponent Tuesday: the bitter cold.
Chicagoans going about their day were greeted with blustery conditions with temperatures at a breezy 29 degrees. Mayoral candidate and Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd) thinks the cold could impact Tuesday’s result, leaning in favor of Emanuel.
"I've always said very cold weather and having elections at this time of the year is incumbent protection, and so it leads towards the incumbent at this stage," he said Tuesday morning outside the Jefferson Park station on the Chicago Transit Authority's Blue Line.
Rain and cold temperatures have threatened to keep voters home in the past. In a 2012 study by Ipsos and the Weather Channel, 6 percent of registered voters in the western states said they would not make it to the polls in "unseasonably cold" temperatures.
Still, Fioretti expressed confidence that the mayor's race wouldn't end Tuesday evening.
"I think there will be a runoff at this point. All signs are pointing to one," he said. "A runoff will be very good for Chicago because it's a discussion of the issues. We didn't see really that much of a discussion during the debates. You have an hour. You have five candidates, a minute answer. Now maybe we're going to have an understanding on the issues of crime and economic development and education and the future of this city."
A candidate must garner 50 percent-plus one vote to avoid an April 7 runoff election. There has never been a runoff in a Chicago mayoral election. The process was changed in 1999 from a primary and general election in an effort to save money.