As voters prepare to go the polls next month for the mayoral election, candidates continue to heat up their campaigns.
With Jesus “Chuy” Garcia securing a backing from Illinois’ oldest independent political organization and Alderman Bob Fioretti targeting Mayor Rahm Emanuel for not pressing charges in an attack on his son last month, the mayoral race heated up Monday.
Fioretti said the mayor's decision to not press charges after suspects were questioned for attacking his teenage son near the family's home before Christmas "sent the wrong signal."
"The next time somebody gets shot, the next time somebody gets beat up, the time somebody's home gets invaded, you know what? It's OK," Fioretti said. "No, it's not. The Mayor sent the wrong signal to everybody."
The mayor's campaign spokesman said "it's sad that Bob Fioretti's campaign has come to this" and noted the move "doesn't warrant a response."
Garcia, speaking at a City Hall news conference, said he was “honored to have earned” the endorsement of the IVI-IPO, an independent political organization.
The Sun-Times reports that C. Betty Magness, Administrative Vice Chair of the IVI-IPO, said Emanuel didn’t get the endorsement because he didn’t apply for it, and “most of his answers would not have been progressive enough for us.”
In a new poll released Monday by Ogden & Fry, an independent polling company conducting weekly polls for the mayoral race, it appeared Garcia could force a run-off election.
The poll showed Emanuel with a clear lead and 39.5 percent of the vote, Garcia with 18 percent, Wilson with 11.1 percent and Fioretti with 7.5 percent.
“There is little question Rahm Emanuel will lead the February 24, 2015 Municipal Election. The only question is whether he can avoid an April 7, 2015 run-off against Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia,” the polling company wrote in their analysis.
The margin of error was at 3.24 percent.
Over the weekend, another independent polling company indicated Fioretti could force a run-off.
The Victory Research poll of 806 “likely Chicago voters,” showed Emanuel leading in his bid for re-election with 36.4 percent of the vote. Fioretti was in second with 18.2 percent of the vote and Garcia in third at 12 percent. Wilson and William “Dock” Walls followed in fourth and fifth place with 8.6 percent and 0.9 percent respectively, according to the poll.
There was a margin of error of 3.45 percent.
“While a slight majority currently believes that Mayor Emanuel does not deserve re-election, Chicago voters are not at the point where they are saying ‘Anybody but Emanuel, no matter what,’” Rod McCulloch, President of Victory Research, said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Emanuel on Monday announced that health information services company ContextMedia plans to add an additional 200 jobs in Chicago this year and expects to add 400 additional jobs in the city next year. The company, which moved into its current Chicago headquarters in April, looks to expand in 2015, according to a release.
“ContextMedia is a great example of the tech economy we have in Chicago today and the even stronger tech economy we are building for tomorrow,” Mayor Emanuel said. “The City of Chicago used to be the flyover city for the tech community. Today we are becoming the destination city for the best tech companies and the best tech talent, as the great team at ContextMedia can attest.”
The move comes just after President Barack Obama showed support for his re-election campaign in a new radio ad.
Candidate Dock Walls said the president should have stayed out of the contest.
"He probable shouldn't have endorsed no one at all," Walls said. "He's not obligated to endorse anyone."
All of the candidates are set to appear Tuesday at the first side-by-side debate.