<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Chicago Political News and Chicago Politics]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/politics http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.com en-us Sun, 01 Mar 2015 09:12:51 -0600 Sun, 01 Mar 2015 09:12:51 -0600 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Emanuel, Garcia Court Wilson's Endorsement ]]> Sat, 28 Feb 2015 17:39:48 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Willie-Wilson+022415-1.jpg

With just five weeks until the runoff election, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Jesus "Chuy" Garcia spent the day Saturday courting endorsements that could make the difference in the outcome of the April election.

Emanuel spent the morning thanking West Side supporters and fielding calls, while Garcia rubbed elbows with union members rallying for higher pay for home care workers. The Cook County commissioner also made a stop at the Rainbow/PUSH headquarters.

Despite their packed schedules, however, a meeting with former challenger and third-place finisher Willie Wilson is high on the priority list for both candidates.

Wilson's 46th floor penthouse has been a revolving door for both mayoral campaigns, and Emanuel's deputy chief of staff dropped by early Saturday.

"I will be meeting with the mayor later today," Wilson said.

This is the second meeting between the mayor and Wilson in the last few days.

Garcia was also scheduled to pay a visit Saturday evening. Wilson says both candidates are after his support because he had strong support from the African-American voters.

Wilson made it clear who he's voting for. "I'll vote for anyone except for Rahm all right, but that's me as an individual," Wilson said.

At the same time, however, he said he will endorse the candidate his supporters choose in the next 10 days, even if they choose Emanuel.

"The people who have the real decision for me are the people who voted for me," Wilson said.

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<![CDATA[Garcia Opposes Using Park Land For Obama Library]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 12:24:53 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Chuy+Garcia.png

Chicago's mayoral candidates have already sparred on their different opinions regarding education and public safety, but a new issue popped into the campaign conversation when Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia expressed his opposition to having President Barack Obama's presidential library placed on park land.

Garcia reportedly made his comments on Thursday to the Chicago Sun-Times, placing another wedge between him and incumbent Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who supports having the library, museum and academic center placed in either Washington or Jackson parks if the University of Chicago wins the bidding process.

"We have to protect park land. It’s not like there’s no other place to do it. Just because some interests with important connections want it there doesn’t mean it has to go there. I’m a parks guy. I feel that parks are sacred," Garcia was quoted by the Sun-Times as saying.

In late December, the Obama foundation let it be known publicly that it had serious concerns about the University of Chicago's bid — in particular, the school's failure to prove it could secure the Chicago Park District land on which it was proposing to build. That set off a scramble by university officials and Emanuel, and earlier this month, the park district's board voted unanimously to transfer 20 acres to the city, to be leased to the foundation if the University of Chicago gets the library.

Obama's foundation said the move had improved Chicago's bid, in yet another indication that the University of Chicago was on track to win the library.

Yet a small but outspoken group of opponents, led by the nonprofit Friends of the Parks, has continued to argue that officials have yet to prove the Obama legacy project is worth the land-grab from city park-goers.

The University of Chicago bid is in competition with one from the University of Illinois at Chicago, as well as bids from Columbia University in New York and the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. Obama is expected to select a winner within weeks.

On Thursday, the Associated Press and the Sun-Times, both citing sources, reported that South Side residents were recently polled to gauge support for the project on public land. The Sun-Times report indicated that just 24 percent of those polled opposed using Washington and Jackson park land if one of those sites is chosen.

While in town last week, Obama stopped by his family home near the University of Chicago's campus for an update on the selection process by the foundation's chairman, but the White House said no decision was made at that time.

Emanuel on Tuesday failed to garner enough votes to win the mayoral election outright, extending his campaign against Garcia, his closest challenger, another six weeks. The election is April 7.

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<![CDATA[Karen Lewis: I Could Have Won]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 09:00:30 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/216*120/Karen+Lewis1.jpg

Ailing Chicago Teacher's Union President Karen Lewis laid the groundwork to run for mayor against Rahm Emanuel before a brain tumor forced her to withdraw from the fight. 

Lewis and her CTU allies drafted Jesus "Chuy" Garcia to run in her stead and Garcia managed to force a runoff with the ascerbic incumbent taking 34% of the vote against Emanuel's 46%.

But, Lewis thinks those numbers would have been much different if she had managed to stick with the race. The Chicago Sun-Times asked her if she would have won the election outright on February 24. 

"I think so," Lewis said to the paper. "I think the turnout would have been greater. People stopped me on the street: I will vote for you, I will work for you."

Lewis seems thrilled with Chuy's victory, however, and said she spoke with the candidate on election night. She wasn't able to attend the party because she's still recovering from her illness. 

Read the whole interview in the Chicago Sun-Times

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<![CDATA[Report: Schock Failed to Report London Gifts]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 07:54:04 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/aaron+schock1.jpg

Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock failed to disclose a number of gifts on a financial disclosure form in connection with a 2011 visit to London, a published report out Thursday night alleges.

The Politico report also accuses the congressman of failing to report payments he should have made for use of a Maryland golf course for a fundraiser.

The report is another hit for the fourth-term representative, who is currently under investigation after a Washington watchdog group filed an ethics complaint after it was found Schock may have used campaign funding to decorate his congressional offices.

Most recently, an Associated Press investigation found that Schock spent taxpayer money and campaign funds on flights aboard private planes owned by key donors. The investigation also shed light on some outlandish travel expenses and entertainment charges.

The 33-year-old earlier this week hired top lawyers and public relations experts in the wake of the recent questions surrounding his travel and entertainment expenses.

Jon Stewart, the host of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show," mocked Schock and his Instagram account on Wednesday night's program.


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<![CDATA[Emanuel Ahead of Garcia by 10.6 Percent Heading Into Runoff: Poll]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 19:19:48 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/TLMD-Emanuel-Garcia.jpg

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is ahead of Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia by 10.6 percent heading into their April runoff, according to a new poll.

The poll, released by the mayor’s super PAC, shows Emanuel holding 50.4 percent of the city’s vote with Garcia at a solid 39.8 percent. The remaining 9.8 percent of voters are reportedly undecided.

The robocall poll of 2,659 likely voters was conducted Wednesday by the Global Strategy Group, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

The poll shows some good signs for supporters of Emanuel who were shaken by the unexpected election results, according to the publication:

• Among black voters, Emanuel leads with 51.8 percent to Garcia’s 35.8 percent.
• Among white voters, Emanuel holds a 12.4 percentage point lead, with 53 percent to Garcia’s 40.6 percent.
• Even in Garcia’s base among Hispanic voters, Emanuel is “competitive” with 43 percent of the vote to Garcia’s 51.3 percent. Hispanics are the only demographic group where Garcia is leading.
• Asked whom they trust to tackle the vexing issues of crime, education and finances, 47.6 percent of voters surveyed favor Emanuel, compared to 32.8 percent for Garcia.
• Although Emanuel’s abrasive, top-down management style has rubbed voters the wrong way, 49.7 percent of voters polled said Emanuel has the “personality and leadership skills” to be an effective mayor, compared to 32.1 percent for Garcia.

Garcia is not concerned though, laughing off the poll results when he spoke to the publication.

“We already defied the odds," Garcia said to the Sun-Times. "The money and everything they could throw at us in the primary. We demonstrated a solid coalition. It will only grow and get stronger… As I predicted a runoff, I predict victory.”

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<![CDATA[NJ Officer Meets President Obama]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 12:39:24 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/216*120/Officer+Obama+Camden.jpg

Although cops are used to being called to important gatherings, a New Jersey officer was shocked to discover who she would be meeting at an upcoming event.

Officer Virginia Matias of the Camden County Police was told by Chief Scott Thompson that she would be meeting President Barack Obama.

“He called me and told me I would have the honor of meeting the president,” the 28-year-old said. “It was unreal, I thought ‘is this a joke?’”

Matias went to the White House and met Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in at the White House on Feb. 24 along with five other officers across the U.S. who were nominated by the heads of their respective departments.

“As soon as they opened the door to the Oval Office he was right there with a smile on his face,” Matias said. “He was very welcoming, I felt like I was at home.”

Obama met with the officers to thank them for their service and discuss how law enforcement can work with communities to ensure public safety.

“We’re a model of community policing, so he wanted to get our feedback on what’s working,” Matias said.

Matias was motivated by a tragic event in her teens to become an officer.

“When I was around 17, I had an uncle who was murdered in North Camden while he was operating his bodega in 2003,” Matias said. "At that moment, I knew I wanted to be a part of a change in my city."


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<![CDATA[Jon Stewart Mocks Rep. Schock and His Instagram Account]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 11:13:28 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/aaron+schock1.jpg

Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock has made headlines across the country lately, and on Wednesday night he and his Instagram account made another one ... on "The Daily Show."

Before revealing Schock's incriminating Instagram photos, Jon Stewart introduced his audience to the representative with a new segment he called "Pride Goeth Before the Fall," in which he discussed Schock's "Downton Abbey"-inspired office. Schock was then shown responding with a quote from a popular pop singer: "As Taylor Swift says, haters gonna hate."

Stewart had a rebuttal to Schock's remark, too: "But also auditors are gonna audit, indicters are gonna indict, and voters are gonna vote."


Schock came under fire earlier this year when the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics filed a complaint asking the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate whether the 33-year-old congressman violated House rules by accepting free interior decoration services and using campaign funds to pay for office furniture.

Most recently, an Associated Press investigation found that Schock spent taxpayer money and campaign funds on flights aboard private planes owned by key donors. The investigation also shed light on some outlandish travel expenses and entertainment charges.

Stewart pointed out the sold-out Katy Perry concert in Washington last June where Schock took his interns. He also highlighted the nearly $1,500 "fundraising event entertainment" charge at a Baltimore massage parlor, which was paid for by a PAC associated with the representative.

"The Daily Show" segment ended with a slideshow of Schock's Instagram photos, which the Associated Press used in their investigation to track Schock's flight records.

The photos Stewart selected show Schock traveling all over the world partaking in adventure activities, like zip lining, surfing and sky diving.

"While this may all be unethical, I got to admit, it looks really fun to be this guy," Stewart said.

The segment ended with a suggestion from Stewart about a future career path for Schock, just in case the recent controversies spell the end of his congressional career.

"If this Congress thing doesn't work out, shake it off, because you would obviously make an awesome travel channel host," Stewart said.


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<![CDATA[Wilson Says He's Being Courted by Emanuel, Garcia]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 19:19:16 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Willie+Wilson.jpg

He may have come in third place, but mayoral candidate Willie Wilson is being courted by both Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia.

Both Emanuel and Garcia paid personal visits Wednesday to Wilson's Streeterville home.

"I do feel, whoever I endorse will be the next mayor of Chicago," Wilson said.

The millionaire businessman and first time candidate received 10 percent of Tuesday's vote.

While he said his heart is telling him to support Garcia, he said he found Emanuel to be very interested in the issues he cares about. Ultimately, Wilson said he's going to wait to receive input from those who supported him and seriously consider their advice.

He plans to make a decision by the end of the first week of March.

Results Tuesday showed the incumbent mayor with about 46 percent of the vote, short of the 50 percent-plus-one support he needed to win another term outright. Garcia, a Cook County commissioner, came in second place with 34 percent.

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<![CDATA[Best Political Mustaches]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 13:20:18 -0600 since he was age 14 and a sophomore at St. Rita High School.]]> since he was age 14 and a sophomore at St. Rita High School.]]> http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/215*120/tlmd-jesus-chuy-garcia.jpg Jesus "Chuy" Garcia isn't the only politician sporting the 'stache]]> <![CDATA[CREW Files Complaint Over Schock's Travel Spending]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 12:08:50 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/aaron-schock-gettyimages.jpg

A government watchdog group on Wednesday asked congressional investigators to examine whether Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock violated House ethics rules by using taxpayer and campaign funds for private air travel.

The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said in its complaint to the Office of Congressional Ethics that available evidence about Schock's spending "warrants a full investigation." Schock, a 33-year-old Republican, has faced scrutiny in recent weeks amid revelations he used the funds to pay for trips on his donors' aircraft.

An Associated Press review this week found Schock spent more than $40,000 for at least a dozen flights, including trips before 2013 that may have violated House rules. Schock's expenses also include fundraising-related charges to a massage company and for music concerts.

This is the third complaint from the liberal-leaning group CREW about Schock's finances since early February, the most recent one filed days after reports from the AP, Washington Post, Politico and USA Today. CREW's complaints on Feb. 3 and Feb. 9 asked for inquires over decorating services to furnish his office after the TV show "Downton Abbey," as well as the sale of his Peoria, Illinois, home to a campaign contributor.

A spokesman for Schock on Wednesday referred to the congressman's earlier comments about his finances. Schock told the AP on Monday he takes compliance with funding rules seriously and has begun a review of his office's procedures "concerning this issue and others to determine whether they can be improved."

Lawmakers can use their office funds for private flights as long as payments cover their share of the costs. But most of the flights Schock covered with office funds occurred before the House changed its rules in January 2013. The earlier rules prohibited lawmakers from using those accounts to pay for flights on private aircraft, allowing payments only for federally licensed charter and commercial flights.

Schock also spent thousands more on tickets for concerts and car mileage reimbursements and took his interns to a sold-out Katy Perry concert in Washington last June. Separately, the Office of Congressional Ethics said in 2013 there was reason to believe Schock violated House rules on campaign contributions during a 2012 primary.

In a signal that Schock could begin to respond to questions about his expenses, Schock earlier this week brought on board Washington attorneys William McGinley and Donald McGahn, a former Federal Election Commission member. Schock also retained GOP communications experts Ron Bonjean and Brian Walsh, according to a person familiar with the changes who was not authorized to speak publicly. Politico first reported the hires Tuesday.

The AP's review identified at least one dozen flights worth more than $40,000 on donors' planes since mid-2011, tracking Schock's reliance on the aircraft partly through the congressman's penchant for uploading pictures and videos of himself to his Instagram account. The AP extracted location data associated with each image then correlated it with flight records showing airport stopovers and expenses later billed for air travel against Schock's office and campaign records.

The review covered Schock's travel and entertainment expenses in his taxpayer-funded House account, in his campaign committee and the "GOP Generation Y Fund," a political action committee. Records show more than $1.5 million in contributions to the fund since he took office in 2009.

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<![CDATA[Ramirez-Rosa Unseats Ald. Colon in 35th Ward Upset]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 10:02:43 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/rey+colon+gallery.jpg

Tuesday's election was full of disappointments for several elected officials, including the mayor, but only one member of City Council suffered an absolute upset.

Alderman Rey Colon of the 35th ward will not be heading for a runoff. He will instead give up his seat to his opponent, Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, who just turned 26 last week and who will be the first openly gay Latino elected to City Council. Colon only won 33 percent of the vote, giving Ramirez-Rosa the other 67 percent.

Colon was first elected alderman of the 35th ward in 2003. With the new ward boundaries, which take effect with this election, the ward covers parts of Albany Park, Irving Park, Avondale, Logan Square and Hermosa. In the former ward boundaries, the 35th ward covered more of Logan Square but none of Albany Park.

Ramirez-Rosa aligned with mayoral candidate Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, who won 57 percent of the vote in the ward. Mayor Emanuel won only 36 percent of the votes in the ward. Colon had the support of a pro-Emanual PAC, which may have aided in his defeat.

Colon gained some negative press in July when he was arrested and charged with driving under the influence.

While no other incumbents suffered a defeat as colossal as Colon's, 19 incumbent aldermen plus the mayor are heading into runoff elections in April.

The alderman of the 18th ward on the city's Southwest Side, Lona Lane, is heading into a runoff with opponent Derrick Curtis, who earned a handful of votes more than Lane. Each candidate took about 30 percent of the votes in the ward.

In the 7th ward, incumbent Natashia Holmes faced seven challengers and only took 25 percent of the vote for herself.

In the 16th ward, Toni Foulkes, who is the current alderman of the 15th ward, ran against three others to fill the seat of the late Ald. JoAnn Thompson, who died Feb. 9. While Foulkes was not the incumbent of this ward, she was running to win the votes of many of the same residents she won over in her former ward, whose boundaries and demographics shifted significantly with the new map. Foulkes won 44 percent of the vote and will face off against Stephanie Coleman, who won 35 percent, in an April runoff.

The runoff election will take place April 7.

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<![CDATA[Runoff Heats Up: Emanuel, Garcia Return to Campaign Trail]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 18:38:00 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Emanuel-Garcia.jpg

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and rival Jesus "Chuy" Garcia kicked off part two of the campaign early Wednesday morning, heading out to greet voters just hours after election results sparked an unprecedented runoff. 

Emanuel, who fell short of the 50-percent-plus-one support he needed to win a second term outright in Tuesday's municipal election, tweeted a photo of himself, coffee in hand, greeting voters at the 95th Street Red Line stop. 

"It's a warm reception after the election but my goal is to earn people's support," Emanuel told WVON after his appearance. "And I did it this morning and I'm going to continue to be throughout the city at every L stop, grocery store and meet the voters and talking to them about the choices we have to make and do you have the plan and perseverance to make progress in this city throughout every neighborhood."

Garcia, meanwhile, told reporters that he was feeling good as he started the day at the Brown Line Merchandise Mart stop. 

"All along we had said that people in Chicago, especially neighborhoods, wanted change," he told NBC 5 in an interview. "They felt left behind, they felt like special interests had had their way for too long and they had something to say and they said it yesterday,"

He said he looks forward to continuing his campaign to connect with a diverse cross-section of Chicago voters. 

"We campaigned throughout the city of Chicago that we truly embraced the multi-racial, multi-ethnic type of coalition that's required to effectively govern and include everyone in the city of Chicago," he said.

While Emanuel lead by double digits in the polls on Tuesday, the runoff result was seen as a victory for Garcia and the Chicago Teachers Union and progressives that backed his bid against the powerful incumbent. Emanuel, a former congressman and White House chief of staff, spent millions on his bid to win a second term as the mayor of the nation's third most populous city, blanketing the airwaves and calling on President Barack Obama for help on the campaign trail.

But those efforts failed to give him the boost he needed to win over enough voters to secure a second term while avoiding going head-to-head against Garcia in a second round of balloting. The April 7 election will mark the first time since the city changed its election process in the 1990s that an incumbent mayor has been forced into a runoff race. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Carol Marin on What Runoff Means for Chicago]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 08:30:32 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000011206019_1200x675_404077635972.jpg NBC Chicago Political Editor Carol Marin says the runoff will give Chicagoans another six weeks to dive into the issues.]]> <![CDATA[How Emanuel Can Regain Momentum]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 10:03:46 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/rahm-emanuel-AP_546204958978.jpg

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[19 Chicago Aldermanic Races Go to Runoff]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 18:33:07 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/chicago-city-council1.jpg

With most of the votes tallied, it appeared Wednesday morning that aldermanic campaigns in 19 of Chicago's 50 wards would continue into April.

Among the wards are those with incumbents such as Natashia L. Holmes (7th), John Pope (10th), Lona Lane (18th), Willie Cochrane (20th), Howard Brookins (21st), Deborah Graham (29th), Ray Suarez (31st), Deb Mell (33rd), Emma Mitts (37th), Mary O'Connor (41st), Michele Smith (43rd), John Arena (45th) and James Cappleman (46th). Ald. Toni Foulkes will also face a runoff challenger, though in a new ward as a result of redistricting.

Holmes, in the 7th ward, was appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel when Sandi Jackson resigned in 2013 because of legal problems. She had seven challengers looking to unseat her Tuesday, with Gregory Mitchell coming the closest to succeeding. Holmes garned 25.1 percent of the vote to Mitchell's 20.3 percent. The ward favored Emanuel in the mayoral race, giving him 43.6 percent of the vote. Jesus "Chuy" Garcia came in second with 24.6 percent. Read more about the 7th ward.

Pope, in the 10th Ward, had six challengers but came out with 44.1 percent support. His nearest challengers, Susan Sadlowski Garza, earned 24 percent. The ward overwhelmingly favored Garcia in the mayoral race, giving him 47.5 percent to Emanuel's 37.7 percent. Read more about the 10th ward.

Lane, in the 18th Ward, faces an uphill battle in the April 7 runoff. She joined the Chicago City Council in 2006 but could lose her seat after coming in second on Tuesday to challenger and ward committeeman Derrick Curtis. Lane earned 29.9 percent of the vote but was trumped by Curtis' 30.4 percent. The 18th Ward favored Emanuel in the mayoral race, giving him 38.7 percent support to Garcia's 32.8 percent. Read more about the 18th ward.

In the 20th Ward, Cochrane enjoys a substantial lead over his closest challenger, Kevin Bailey, but the votes just weren't enough to allow him to win outright. The ward also didn't give Emanuel an outright victory in the mayoral election. Emanuel earned 40.7 percent of the vote while Garcia earned 26.0 percent. Read more about the 20th ward.

The 21st Ward six people chipped away at Brookins. Given the numbers, he'll likely come out victorious in April, though he'll likely continue to face questions about his former chief of staff, Curtis Thompson, who pleaded guilty to accepting a bribe. Tuesday's election gave Brookins 41.7 percent of the vote. His nearest challenger, Marvin McNeil, earned just 14.1 percent. The ward was also split among the mayoral candidates. Emanuel had 42.4 percent of the vote here. Businessman Willie Wilson was the second-place finisher in the 21st Ward, with 24.2 percent of the vote. Read more about the 21st ward.

In the 29th Ward, Graham, the incumbent, faced seven challengers. She came out with 40.0 percent of the vote and will face Chris Taliaferro, who earned 22.5 percent, in the April election. The ward favored Emanuel, giving him 42 percent of the vote. Garcia was second, with 25.1 percent. Read more about the 29th Ward.

The vote split in the 31st Ward perhaps shows a test in the traditional leadership of Joe Berrios, the Chairman of the Cook County Democrats. Suarez has been alderman in the ward for 24 years but will face Milagros "Milly" Santiago on April 7. Suarez lead Santiago 47.7 percent to 37.3 percent. Voters in this ward preferred Garcia to Emanuel in the mayoral race. Garcia earned 50.9 percent to Emanuel's 40.5 percent. Read more about the 31st Ward.

In the 33rd Ward, Mell lead her closest challenger, Tim Meegan, by a little more than 1,000 votes as of 6 a.m.  Mell comes from a political family, and her father held the same position from 1975 to 2013, when he resigned and was replaced by his daughter. Meegan earned the Chicago Teachers Union endorsement. Both Deb Mell and her father, Richard Mell, have 100 percent voting records in line with the mayor, but early voting numbers showed the ward preferred Jesus "Chuy" Garcia in Tuesday's mayoral race. Garcia earned 49.4 percent of the vote while Rahm Emanuel earned 39.8 percent. Read more about the 33rd ward.

The 36th Ward is another test of Berrios' leadership. Berrios and the Cook County Democrats supported incumbent Aquino, but he'll face a runoff with Gilbert Villegas. Aquina had 35.7 percent of the vote to Villegas' 32.7 percent. Voters in this ward also preferred Garcia to Emanuel. Garcia collected 44.9 percent of the vote to Emanuel's 39.4 percent. Read more about the 36th ward.

In the 37th Ward, Emma Mitts will face Tara Stamps in the April 7 runoff. Mitts early Wednesday morning had 47.7 percent of the vote to Stamps' 32.3 percent. Her ward favored Emanuel in the mayoral race. He earned 40.9 percent, followed by Wilson's 28.2 percent. Read more about the 37th ward.

In the 41st Ward, Mary O'Connor faces a runoff with Anthony Napolitano. The incumbent had 47.9 percent of the vote, followed closely by Napolitano's 42.4 percent. The ward favored Emanuel in the mayoral race. He earned 48.0 percent support, followed by Garcia with 30.9 percent support. Read more about the 41st ward.

In the 43rd Ward, Smith topped Caroline Vickrey by about five percentage points. Smith has served one term in the Chicago City Council in a ward that includes Lincoln Park, Old Town, and DePaul University. She is a protégé of the mayor and was endorsed by him but faced discontent in her ward concerning the redevelopment of Children's Memorial Hospital. Voters here overwhelmingly favored Emanuel in the election. Early numbers showed him with 71.9 percent of the vote. Garcia came in second, with 18.4 percent of the vote. Read more about the 43rd ward.

The April election will have 45th Ward Ald. John Arena up against John Garrido. Arena had 45.5 percent to Garrido's 39.7 percent. The ward favored Emanuel, giving him 48.4 percent of the vote to Garcia, with 34.9 percent. Read more about the 45th ward.

And in the 46th Ward, first-term Ald. Cappleman will face challenger Amy Crawford, who trailed by fewer than 1,000 votes as of 6 a.m. The ward includes Uptown and is on the verge of gentrification. Early numbers showed the ward preferred Emanuel in the mayoral race. Read more about the 46th ward.

Foulkes, previously alderman of the 15th district, ran in the 16th ward due to redistricting. She was the leader in Tuesday's race following the recent death of incumbent JoAnn Thompson. Foulkes garnered 43.3 percent support in Tuesday's race. Her closest challenger, Stephanie Coleman, earned 34.9 percent support. The ward favored Emanuel in the mayoral election, giving him 38.9 percent of the vote. Garcia was second, with 27.7 percent support. Read more about the 16th ward.

Aldermen in the 12th, 13th, 14th, 28th, 30th, 42nd, and 48th wards ran unopposed.



Photo Credit: NBC Chicago]]>
<![CDATA[Jesus "Chuy" Garcia: "We're Going to Build a New Chicago"]]> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 23:12:04 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000011201119_1200x675_403943491693.jpg Jesus "Chuy" Garcia said Tuesday that the "people have spoken" in forcing an April runoff election between him and Mayor Rahm Emanuel. ]]> <![CDATA[Wilson Campaign Says He Caused Runoff]]> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 22:54:52 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000011201166_1200x675_403935811857.jpg NBC Chicago’s Lauren Jiggetts reports from the campaign of Willie Wilson, the self-made businessman who spent $2 million of his own money trying to unseat Emanuel. ]]> <![CDATA[Rahm: "We Have Come A Long Way"]]> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 22:38:15 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000011200904_1200x675_403939907618.jpg Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks about being forced into a runoff.]]> <![CDATA[Garcia on Runoff: "The People Have Spoken" ]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 08:43:38 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Chuy+Garcia.png

Jesus "Chuy" Garcia said Tuesday that the "people have spoken" in forcing an April runoff election between him and Mayor Rahm Emanuel. 

"So nobody thought we’d be here tonight," he said. "They wrote us off; they said we didn’t have a chance. They said we didn’t have any money while they spent millions attacking us. Well, we’re still standing! We’re still running! And we’re gonna win!"

While Garcia trailed the mayor by double digits in Tuesday's election, winning 34 percent of the vote, he and three other challengers managed to win enough support to keep Emanuel from crossing the 50-percent-plus-one threshold needed to win the election outright. Results showed Emanuel sitting just shy of that mark, with about 46 percent, for much of the night. 

Tuesday's results mark the first time an incumbent mayor has been forced into a runoff since the city's election system changed in the 1990s. Emanuel's campaign spent millions to blanket the airwaves and called on big-name supporters, including President Barack Obama, in an attempt to avoid that outcome. 

But Garcia, a Cook County commissioner, had on his side support of the powerful Chicago Teachers Union, which capitalized on opposition to Emanuel's decision to close dozens of under-performing schools. Garcia and the other candidates also sought to portray the incumbent as choosing business and other entrenched interests over better opportunities for all Chicagoans. 

Garcia told NBC Chicago during the campaign that he would, to hire a thousand more police officers, reduce class sizes and standardized tests and “invest in neighborhoods to attract manufacturing or industrial-creation jobs.”

"We’re gonna build a new Chicago that works for everyone, a Chicago that people will want to move to, not run away from," he said Tuesday. "And starting six weeks from tonight, we’re going to change it together." 

Emanuel, meanwhile, told his supporters that Tuesday marked just "the first step in a real important journey for our city." He called Garica a "good man" and said he looks "forward to a debate of the issues in the weeks ahead so we can be clear about the choice for the city of hicago's future."

The runoff race is scheduled for April 7.. 

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<![CDATA[Ald. Bob Fioretti Concedes: "We Did Do Change"]]> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 21:58:19 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000011200640_1200x675_403911747886.jpg Alderman Bob Fioretti concedes in the 2015 mayoral election race. ]]> <![CDATA[Runoff for Rahm: Mayor Falls Short]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 06:22:19 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/rahm+and+chuy.jpg

Rahm Emanuel failed to clinch another term as Chicago's mayor on Tuesday, setting the stage for an unprecedented runoff election against challenger Jesus "Chuy" Garcia.

Results showed the incumbent mayor with about 46 percent of the vote, short of the 50 percent-plus-one support he needs to win another term outright. Garcia, a Cook County commissioner, came in second place with 34 percent. 

The results mean the two will face off April 7, a potentially embarrassing result for a high-profile politician who has already spent millions in his re-election bid. It is the first time since the city changed its election system in the 1990s that an incumbent mayor is forced into a runoff. 

"We have come a long way and we have a little bit farther to go," Emanuel told supporters. "This is the first step in a real important journey for our city. To those who voted for me in this election, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. For those who voted for someone else, I hope to earn your confidence and your support in the weeks to come." 

A boisterous Garcia celebrated the outcome as a win over moneyed interests and other powerful forces supporting the incumbent, saying the results show "the people have spoken."

"Nobody thought we’d be here tonight," Garcia said. "They wrote us off; they said we didn’t have a chance. They said we didn’t have any money while they spent millions attacking us. Well, we’re still standing! We’re still running! And we’re gonna win!" 

Emanuel, a former White House chief of staff, struggled to rise above 50 support throughout the campaign, even as he outpolled his four lesser-funded and known challengers. A late campaign blitz that blanketed the airwaves and a public appearance last week with President Barack Obama — a move seen as an effort to appeal to undecided African-American voters — couldn’t propel the 55-year-old mayor to victory.

The 55-year-old Democrat anchored his re-election bid on first-term efforts to better the lives of Chicagoans, highlighting pushes to expand access to early childhood education, raise the minimum wage and improve the city’s business climate and infrastructure. But he faced criticism for other major policies pursued during his first term, including his decision to close dozens of schools.

The school closures fueled a tumultuous relationship with the Chicago’s Teachers Union, which went on strike in 2012. The union, which also clashed with Emanuel over other changes to the city’s education system, endorsed Garcia after a brain cancer diagnosis sidelined its own president, Karen Lewis.

Political expert John P. Frendreis said while Garcia is “funny, he’s got a good speaking presence, he’s been around long enough, he’s got this colorful nickname so people kind of know him,” it was the support of the teachers that made the race competitive. 

“It’s really the school controversy, the closure of schools, the continued opening of charter schools and then the ... battle with the CTU and Rahm that has generated any kind of heat in this and has made him even remotely vulnerable,” the political science professor at Loyola University in Chicago, said ahead of Tuesday’s race.

Emanuel's “bare-knuckles” approach to running the city, despite yielding results in some areas, also hurt his standing with some voters, analysts say.

“He’s reasonably good at his job,” Freindreis said. “Now where he has stumbled is that he is a tough guy and he is a bully and sometimes he is just too smart for his own good and so he’s rubbed people the wrong way because he’s not nice.”

Emanuel’s challengers criticized him throughout the campaign for not doing enough to help bring jobs, safer streets and other opportunities to all Chicagoans. Garcia told NBC Chicago he would, to hire a thousand more police officers, reduce class sizes and standardized tests and “invest in neighborhoods to attract manufacturing or industrial-creation jobs.” In addition to the backing from the teachers, he also gained headlines for winning the endorsement of the liberal political group MoveOn.org. The group applauded Tuesday's results as a "huge win for progressives and working families across Chicago." 

Even if Emanuel succeeds in winning a second term in April, some observers say the education initiatives he pushed in his first four years could take a hit in Chicago and beyond.

“Over the next few years you could have mayors, some Democrats and some Republicans, in cities across the nation saying I’m going to pick the kids over the unions,” said Keith Koeneman, author of “First Son: The Biography of Richard M. Daly.”

Check back with NBCChicago.com for more on this developing story. For complete election night coverage, visit the Ward Room blog. 

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<![CDATA[Judge May Have Told People How to Vote: Officials ]]> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 18:28:52 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/chi-vote-022415-1-petty.jpg

A case of an election judge possibly seeking to sway voters at the polls was among the few problems reported in what could be a record low turnout election Tuesday, Chicago officials said. 

The board of elections is investigating the allegations of improper actions by a judge in the 5th Ward, who may have advised voters on which candidates to pick in both the mayoral and aldermanic races there, according to board spokesman Jim Allen. The name of the polling place and judge are being withheld during the investigation. 

Earlier in the day, officials dismissed allegations from one mayoral candidate who said issues with voting machines were causing supporters' ballots to print the wrong name.

Officials project that turnout is expected to hover close to 30 percent, possibly dipping below previous record low from 2007. 

Polls are scheduled to close at 7 p.m., though sites in four precincts will stay open an extra hour because they opened late. 

All eyes Tuesday night will be on results from the mayoral race. Incumbent Rahm Emanuel must take more than 50 percent of the vote in the five-way race to win another term outright. Otherwise, the top two finishers will face off in an April runoff. 

 For complete Election night coverage, visit NBC Chicago's Ward Room blog. 



Photo Credit: Lauren Petty]]>
<![CDATA[Did Rahm Run a Red Light on Election Day? ]]> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 19:01:38 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/rahm-voting-AP159463372804.jpg

With polls in the mayoral contest closing in a matter of hours, Mayor Rahm Emanuel showed no signs of slowing down Tuesday. 

And neither, apparently, did his motorcade. 

The mayor's two-car transport cruised through a red light at 11th Street and Michigan Avenue following a lunch apperance, a Chicago Tribune reporter tweeted. 

Spokespersons for both the mayor's campaign and city office said they were not aware of any such incident Tuesday. 

But wouldn't be the first time the mayor and his entourage found themselves on the wrong side of the city's traffic laws. One January report found he racked up five different red light tickets in just two months. 

The mayor has defended his driving transgressions, saying he personally pays up for violations that he chalked up to a matter of protocol. A Chicago Police Department spokesman confirmed the two-car Emanuel detail is trained to keep cars together.

“I always pay them,” Emanuel told NBC 5 in January. “Since there’s a tail car given, there are some instances where they can’t get through a light because they can’t get separated from the first car. That may be what happened but whatever it is I pay them, even though I’m not driving.”

Still, the report drew a jab from opponents of the mayor's controversial red light camera implementation, who said in a statement that the mayor "has proven once again that he is above his own law" . 

Emanuel is one of five candidates running in Tuesday's mayoral election. If no one wins more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two finishers will face off in an April runoff election. 

For complete Election Day coverage, visit NBC Chicago's Ward Room blog. Click here to follow live results once the polls close at 7 p.m. 



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Voting Hours Extended in Four Precincts]]> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 15:58:38 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/chi-vote-022415-1-petty.jpg

Voting hours at four precincts have been extended until 8 p.m., the election board said Tuesday. 

The board received a court order to keep the following sites open past the 7 p.m. closing of polls: 

  • Ward 02-Precinct 25- Wicker Pk Fieldhouse , 1425 N Damen Ave
  • Ward 41 -Precinct 15 -Olympia Park , 6566 N Avondale Ave
  • Ward 41-Precinct 37 -Olympia Park, 6566 N Avondale Ave
  • Ward 48-Precinct 27 -Sovereign, 1040 W Granville Ave 

A spokesman said the board sought the order "to make sure that any voter who might have been turned away has a chance to return and vote" after learning that the sites in question opened late. 

State law requires that votes cast during the extra hour are done so with a provisional ballot. 

The election will determine the outcome of the mayoral race, as well as ward races and three non-binding referendum questions. For complete coverage of Election Day, visit NBC Chicago's Ward Room blog. 



Photo Credit: Lauren Petty
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<![CDATA[Elections Board Dismisses Voting "Irregularities" Claim]]> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 14:29:40 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Willie-Wilson+022415-1.jpg

The Chicago Board of Elections says it has has not found any merit in one candidate's claim of voting irregularities. 

“We received zero complaints at our election central about the calibration of the equipment. We have no reason to investigate this matter further,” Jim Allen said. “This is an after-the-fact allegation that is a little mysterious.”

The response comes after mayoral candidate Willie Wilson called for an investigation into what he called voting "irregularities" Tuesday.  

The businessman, who has trailed in the polls despite putting $2 million of his own cash into his campaign, had said he and his attorney are asking the “state's attorney, FBI, anybody we can get" to look into his claims about issues at polling sites in the city. 

“We want to make sure that this is a fair election," Wilson told reporters Tuesday. 

One of Wilson's claims involved the wrong name coming out on ballots. In a press release from the Wilson campaign, one case involved a voter in Jackson Park who had to vote four times for Wilson before the selection was registered because the machine was not calibrated.

“What we find with some of these machines is that when we punch my name, then it comes out and in the print out it has Rahm Emanuel’s name," he said, 

Avila and Wilson want the Cook County State’s Attorney, Illinois Attorney General, FBI, and U.S. Attorney to “impound” early voting ballots and conduct a complete review.

Wilson is one of four candidates challenging Emanuel in his bid to win a second term. If no candidate secures more than 50 percent of the vote on Tuesday, the top two finishers will face off in an April 7 runoff. 

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<![CDATA[Emanuel Lays Out Promises For Second Term]]> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 11:57:18 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Rahm-Emanuel-022415-1.jpg

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel used a late Tuesday morning visit to a South Side field office to call voters and remind them of two initiatives he aims to accomplish if he's granted a second term.

"This time next year, every veteran will have a shelter over their head," he told volunteers at his 8th Ward field office, on the 8500 block of South Cottage Grove Avenue. "No veteran will ever call Lower Wacker [Drive] home again in Chicago. They will always have a roof here."

It was last October, during a ribbon cutting at the Hope Manor II Apartments in Englewood, that Emanuel echoed a pledge to end veteran homelessness that had been previously made by his former boss, President Barack Obama. That was on the heels of a $5 million partnership with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Chicago Housing Authority, announced a month earlier.

But veterans weren't the only constituency the mayor said he'd like to help in a second term. As voters head to the polls, some with the 2013 school closures in mind, Emanuel turned his remarks to Chicago students and reiterated a promise he made last fall.

"We're going to make the decisions necessary to give them a bright future, to make sure that every child has the potential to achieve their dreams. ... If you earn a B average, community college is going to be free," he said. 

Emanuel will automatically earn a second term Tuesday night if election returns show him with 50 percent-plus one vote. Any fewer and the mayoral race will extend to an April 7 runoff with his nearest challenger.

A final poll out Monday showed Emanuel falling just short of the threshold, with 48 percent of the support of respondents. Jesus "Chuy" Garcia had the second-highest level of support, the poll showed.

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.

"We've got opportunities ahead of us," Emanuel told volunteers before urging them back to the phones. "We've got challenges. We have to have both the strength and the solutions to meet them head on to continue to build a great city."

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<![CDATA[Mayor Emanuel Hopes to Avoid Runoff in Last Day Before Election]]> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 11:58:17 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/obama-rahm-AP61130604511.jpg

The big political question leading up to the election is whether the mayor will win 50 percent of the vote plus one and avoid a runoff.

There hasn't been a mayoral runoff in the time since the city changed to consolidated elections back in 1999, but that could change this year.

Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia thinks that a runoff is likely and that he will be the one to face off with Mayor Emanuel in a one-on-one contest in April.

"They recognize my candidacy as being the most viable of all of the candidates here and tomorrow will be a great surprise. It will be a big win for Chicago and for change," Garcia said.

The mayor's support at City Hall is shaky, with several aldermen, including Deb Mell, removing Emanuel's name and photo from their campaign mailers and Election Day palm cards. NBC 5 reached out to Mell for comment on this decision, but she did not respond.

"Look, everybody runs their own races, and I'm going to run the race we need to for the future of the city of Chicago," Emanuel said.

Garcia defended these aldermen's decisions.

"I think people don't want to put their skin on the line here, and that's why you're seeing what you're seeing," he said.

The final poll puts Emanuel close to achieving the 50 percent plus one majority, but is not quite there. Emanuel has 48 percent, Garcia 26.5 percent, Willie Wilson 15 percent, Bob Fioretti 7 percent and William "Dock" Walls 3 percent.

Wilson, who has put in $2 million of his own money into the race, promises a huge get-out-the-vote effort, and Alderman Fioretti and Walls know they need a big turnout as well for an upset.

"Cold weather is an incumbent protection, so hopefully people are going to come out," Fioretti said.

Emanuel, who has spent more than $7 million on television advertisements and has received a presidential visit and endorsement, is frantically campaigning to the end.

Now it's all about getting supporters to the polls. Early voting turnout was up 23 percent from four years ago. With some hotly contested aldermanic races to boot, it could be an interesting night as the results come in.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Garcia Banks on Latino Vote to Help Him Pull Ahead]]> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 11:59:57 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/garcia-022415-1-waldroup.jpg

Mayoral candidate Jesus "Chuy" Garcia hopes the Latino community will help him pull ahead of the polls in Tuesday's election.

"The Latino community has an opportunity to make itself felt and heard in Chicago, as well as nationally," Garcia told NBC Chicago early Tuesday while outside St. Cajetan School, at 2447 West 112th St., in the 19th Ward.

"It's a growing community, so it really needs to come out today to show that it's going to matter in the future and that it's a key force in the city of Chicago," he added.

Garcia, who currently serves on the Cook County Board of Commissioners, has 48 percent of the Hispanic vote, according to a recent Chicago Tribune poll. He's shown himself to be a tough contender against Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

However, the mayor has strong support from Hispanics with 33 percent of the vote, according to the same Chicago Tribune survey.

Emanuel needs 50 percent plus one vote at the polls to avoid having the race extend to an April 7 runoff.

"This is about democracy," Garcia said. "This is about the neighborhoods having some power once again in Chicago, and making their voice heard at the polls."

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<![CDATA[Fioretti: If Rahm Wins, Blame the Cold]]> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 12:23:05 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/fioretti-022415-1-petty.jpg

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.



Photo Credit: Lauren Petty]]>
<![CDATA[Runoff Appears Likely as Rahm Falls Short]]> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 20:53:15 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/rahm-voting-AP159463372804.jpg

Scroll down for up-to-date election coverage. Full results will be available here.

With polls closed across Chicago, all eyes are on whether Rahm Emanuel can clinch another four years as mayor without heading to a runoff election. 

A runoff looked likely as results rolled in Tuesday.  Emanuel sat at about 46 percent for much of the evening, falling short of the 50-percent-plus-one threshold he needed to avoid another vote in April. Challenger Jesus "Chuy" Garcia garnered about 34 percent, while candidates Willie Wilson, Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd) and William "Dock" Walls trailed at 10 percent or less a piece. 

While he lead his opponents by double-digits throughout the campaign, polls suggested the mayor is in danger of falling below the majority vote threshold needed to avoid an April 7 runoff election against his closest challenger.

“There’s not much drama as to who is going to draw the most votes on Tuesday," John P. Frendreis, a political science professor at Loyola University Chicago, said. "The big unknown is whether (Emanuel) will go 50-percent-plus-one or fall below 50 percent.”

Emanuel, a former White House chief of staff, has spent big to try to propel himself to an outright victory. He blanketed the airwaves and sought a late boost with help from friend President Barack Obama. As he embarked on a final push for votes on Tuesday, he pledged to fight to improve the city's schools and services for veterans.  

"We've got opportunities ahead of us," Emanuel told volunteers at a South Side field office before urging them back to the phones. "We've got challenges. We have to have both the strength and the solutions to meet them head on to continue to build a great city."

Despite those efforts, Garcia, says he believes he can force Emanuel to the first runoff in a Chicago mayoral election since the process was changed in the 1990s.

"They recognize my candidacy as being the most viable of all of the candidates here and tomorrow will be a great surprise," he said Monday. "It will be a big win for Chicago and for change."

Garcia's candidacy has gotten a big boost thanks to an endorsement from the Chicago Teachers Union, which has clashed with Emanuel over his record on education, including the decision to close dozens of under-performing city schools. Attacks on that issue resonated with Janice Beckham, a retired educator who said she voted for Garcia because she feels the mayor is "anti-teacher."

Polls opened at 6 a.m. Voters have the right to cast a ballot if they are in line by the time polls close at 7 p.m. Voting has also been extended one hour in four precincts that opened late, officials said. 

All 50 city aldermen were also on the ballot, with some facing each other due to redistricting. NBC Chicago has identified 12 aldermanic races that are likely to be especially interesting.

Citywide, voters were asked three referenda questions. Voters in 37 wards saw a fourth question pertaining to the Chicago Board of Education.

Interest appeared high ahead of Election Day, with strong early voting figures, but by Tuesday officials said turnout could be record low. 

And some worried that the frigid temperatures could have a chilling effect on Tuesday's in-person voting. 

"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," Fioretti said Tuesday morning outside the Jefferson Park station on the Chicago Transit Authority's Blue Line. The alderman said he still thinks the race will go to a runoff, an outcome he said is good for the city's residents. 

"A runoff will be very good for Chicago because it's a discussion of the issues," he said. "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."

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said 140 teams of attorneys and investigators were monitoring elections in Chicago and Springfield. The Chicago Board of Elections will have another 300 inspectors out making sure polling places are free of voter intimidation and electioneering.

 

(This page uses functionality that currently doesn't appear in our mobile application. If you're using our mobile app, please tap here to view this story on the web.)



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Mayor Candidates Hit Trail on Final Day of Campaign]]> Mon, 23 Feb 2015 19:29:12 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WEB+2011+Voter+Registration.jpg

Chicago voters head to the polls on Tuesday to cast ballots for mayor, city clerk, city treasurer and all 50 city aldermen.

Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m, and the website of the Chicago Board of Elections has a tool that allows voters to verify their registration, locate their polling place and obtain a sample ballot.
Voters should call Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office if they observe or encounter any suspected improper or illegal activating in Tuesday's contests. Chicago voters can call 1-866-536-3496.

Voters have the right to cast a ballot if they are in line by the time polls close at 7 p.m.

If the voter makes a mistake on a paper ballot and it hasn't been cast, the voter has the right to receive a replacement ballot.

Also, voters can take unpaid time from work to vote, but no more than two successive hours.  

(This page uses functionality that currently doesn't appear in our mobile application. If you're using our mobile app, please tap here to view this story on the web.)



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Wilson Touts Support From Faith Community ]]> Mon, 23 Feb 2015 19:29:59 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Willie+Wilson.jpg

Mayoral hopeful Willie Wilson is touting support from the faith community in his final full day on the campaign trail.

Wilson was scheduled to hold a 10 a.m. press conference with clergy from across the city at the Chicago Baptist Institute.

The businessman has trailed in the polls throughout the race, despite putting more than $2 million of his own cash into the campaign. He has made his own faith a key part of his message to voters, as the Chicago Tribune noted, starting and ending most public appearances with prayer.

Wilson is one of four candidates seeking to oust Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who holds a large lead heading into Tuesday's vote. If Emanuel fails to secure a 50-percent-plus-one-vote victory, he and the second-place finisher will face off in an April runoff.

For complete coverage of the Feb. 24 municipal elections, visit NBC Chicago's Ward Room blog.

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<![CDATA[Garcia Barnstorms City in Final Day of Mayoral Campaign]]> Mon, 23 Feb 2015 19:30:28 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/215*120/tlmd-jesus-chuy-garcia.jpg

With one day left in his bid to force Mayor Rahm Emanuel into a runoff election, Jesus "Chuy" Garcia isn't slowing down.

The Cook County commissioner has no fewer than 11 events on the public schedule for Monday released by his campaign.

While Garcia trails Emanuel by double digits in recent polls on the five-way race, he'll get the chance to face off one-on-one against the mayor on an April ballot if the incumbent fails to win more than 50 percent of the vote in Tuesday's election.

Garcia hit the pavement early Monday, with a scheduled 6 a.m. meet-and-greet at the 95th and Dan Ryan Red Line station. Other stops on his public schedule include Valois Restaurant in Hyde Park, his Logan Square field office, the campuses of the University of Illinois and DePaul University and two elementary schools. He'll end the day with meet-and-greet events at the Kimball Brown Line stop and the Habetler Bowl in Jefferson Park.

For complete coverage of Tuesday's municipal elections, visit NBC Chicago's Ward Room blog.

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<![CDATA[3 Referenda Questions on Municipal Ballot]]> Mon, 23 Feb 2015 11:50:19 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/tlmd_ballot_questions_shutterstock_13034899.png

Chicago voters heading to the polls on Tuesday will find several referenda items on the ballot.

The questions are non-binding, meaning they won't create an official change, but are used to gauge the opinion of the electorate.

Three questions will be asked:

  • To the Voters of the City of Chicago: Should employers in the City of Chicago be required to provide their employees with paid leave in the event of a personal or family illness, an incident of domestic or sexual violence, or a school or building closure due to a public health emergency?
  • To the Voters of the City of Chicago: Should employees of the City of Chicago, if convicted of a domestic violence offense during employment, be referred to a treatment service and required to attend at least one session as a condition of continued employment?
  • To the Voters of the City of Chicago: Should the City of Chicago or the State of Illinois reduce the influence of special interest money in elections by financing campaigns using small contributions from individuals and a limited amount of public money?

Voters in 37 wards will see a fourth question asking them whether the members of the Chicago Board of Education should be elected rather than be appointed by the mayor.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Fioretti Courts Commuters, Bulls Fans in Final Push]]> Mon, 23 Feb 2015 19:38:46 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/fioretti-022315-1.jpg

Mayoral hopeful Bob Fioretti is out courting Chicago commuters and Bulls fans during the final 24 hours before Election Day.

The alderman, who started the day at the Orange Line Midway stop, plans to do some phone banking at his South Side field office in the early afternoon before heading back out for more retail politics, his campaign said.

Later, Fioretti is scheduled meet the masses heading home from work with an appearance at the Clark and Lake stop, then stop by Billy Goat Tavern to mingle with Chicago Bulls fans ahead of the team's game against the Milwaukee Bucks.

In addition to hitting the street ahead of Tuesday's election, Fioretti sought to tap into online support on Sunday with a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" chat. 

The 2nd Ward representative has struggled to gain traction in the mayoral race, with recent polls showing his support in the single digits. With Mayor Rahm Emanual holding a wide lead over all four challengers, all eyes Tuesday will be whether the incumbent can surpass 50 percent support to win outright and avoid an April runoff.

For complete coverage of Chicago's Feb. 24 municipal elections, visit NBC Chicago's Ward Room blog.


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<![CDATA[Rahm Emanuel Fuels Up With Coffee Stops]]> Mon, 23 Feb 2015 19:39:15 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/185720876.jpg

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is fueling up for the final day of the campaign with several coffee stops across Chicago.

Click Here for Full Coverage of Chicago's Municipal Elections

The mayor, who is running for a second term on Tuesday's ballot, is scheduled to swing by North Park Village, Admiral by the Lake and Breakers Senior Home for coffee with city seniors Monday morning, according to his campaign.

Earlier in the day, he tweeted a picture of himself greeting voters at the Loyola Red Line stop.

Recent polls show Emanuel leading his four challengers by double digits, but still falling short of the 50-percent-plus-one-vote threshold he must hit to avoid an April runoff.

For complete coverage of Tuesday's election, visit NBC Chicago's Ward Room blog.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[AMA About City Politics? Fioretti Hits Reddit ]]> Mon, 23 Feb 2015 19:39:51 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Bob_Fioretti_4-14.jpg

As mayoral race rivals took to Chicago's streets Sunday to rev up voters in the final days of the campaign, one candidate hit the Web.

Alderman Bob Fioretti, one of five candidates on Tuesday's ballot, fielded questions through Reddit's "Ask Me Anything" thread Sunday afternoon.

Fioretti slammed incumbent Rahm Emanuel during the hourlong chat, saying his agenda "has been one that’s divided Chicago into two groups – rich people and everyone else."

As for his own plans, he said "reinvesting in our neighborhood schools will be a top priority, along with bringing jobs and economic development to our neighborhoods, rather than focusing on downtown." He also reiterated his support for an elected school board.

While some users participating applauded Fioretti for bringing his campaign to the platform, other Redditors complained that his answers in the thread of roughly 400 comments were too canned.

"This is basically just copy/pasted off of your website... would be nice if you actually gave us some substance," Reddit user jtwizzle57 wrote.

In addition to the AMA, Fioretti was also schedueled to make stops at several churches, Original Pancake House and two police fundraisers on Sunday. 

With little money or name ID, Fioretti has struggled to gain traction in the polls ahead of Tuesday's election. A survey released Monday showed him in fourth place, winning support of just 7 percent of respondents.

That poll showed frontrunner Emanuel still falling shy of the 50-percent-plus-one-vote threshold he must hit to win outright and avoid an April 7 runoff. Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia was in second place in that poll, with 26.5 percent support.


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<![CDATA[Final Poll Shows Mayor's Race Too Close to Call]]> Mon, 23 Feb 2015 10:32:31 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/rahm-voting-AP159463372804.jpg

A final poll out before Tuesday's municipal election shows again that Mayor Rahm Emanuel doesn't have the clear backing to avoid a run-off.

While he leads the Ogden and Fry poll, out Monday, Emanuel doesn't have the crucial 50 percent-plus one vote to avoid having the race go to April 7.

The latest weekly sampling of random voters showed Emanuel with 48 percent of the vote. Jesus "Chuy" Garcia earned 26.5 percent, while Willie Wilson had 15 percent, Ald. Bob Fioretti had Fioretti 7 percent and William "Dock" Walls had 3 percent.

The margin of error in the poll was +/- 3.68 percent.

Ogden and Fry was the pollster with the closest numbers in the recent governor's race.

Interest appears high for the Feb. 24 race. Nearly 90,000 ballots were cast throughout the early voting period, which ended Saturday. The total is a 23 percent increase from the 2011 election, a Chicago Board of Elections spokesman told NBC Chicago. 



Photo Credit: AP]]>