Both Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Jesus “Chuy” Garcia received endorsements Friday, two weeks ahead of the runoff election slated for April.
Emanuel said Friday he re-election endorsement of several influential African-American ministers.
Rev. James Meeks anounced the unanimous support of 10 pastors who say they believe Emanuel is the candidate who can best face contract and negiation issues ahead.
“Who is the person who can make the tough decisions? And who can protect all the citizens of the city of Chicago? We have decided that that is Mayor Rahm Emanuel,” he said.
Other pastors at the Friday event said they believe Emanuel can bring “equality and fairness” in contracts that pertain to African American interests, including areas of education, crime, and the city’s economic state.
“The warmth and strength that I have seen respectfully in each of [the pastors’] churches, if it’s outside their doors, in their surrounding the community, we will be a stronger and better community for it,” Emanuel said.
The move is key for Emanuel and both challengers work to secure the African American vote seen as crucial to the upcoming runoff election.
Meanwhile, 45 minutes after Emanuel’s endorsement announcement, Garcia received support from Reclaim Chicago and state Rep. Will Guzzardi.
“In 2011, I voted for Rahm Emanuel. It was a terrible mistake. I own that,” said retired teacher Evie Reffanti, who went on to discuss Emanuel’s closing of mental health clinics in Chicago. “This time I will not be making a mistake. This time I will be voting for Chuy Garcia.”
Earlier this week, a new poll showed Garcia trailed Emanuel by 15 percent. The poll showed Emanuel had 51 percent of the vote and Garcia had 36 percent with 12 percent of voters undecided.
The announcements also come after the first negative TV campagin ad against Emanuel, sponsored by the SEIU, began airing.
“Like Mayor [Harold] Washington I believe that the people of Chicago and our communities are the heart and soul of our city, Mayor Emanuel believes that his crony corporations are all that matters,” Garcia said Friday.