Mayor Emanuel Hopes to Avoid Runoff in Last Day Before Election - NBC Chicago
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Mayor Emanuel Hopes to Avoid Runoff in Last Day Before Election



    Mayor Emanuel Hopes to Avoid Runoff in Final Day Before Election

    The latest poll numbers show Emanuel just shy of the 50 percent plus one majority, which has the mayor out campaigning until the very end. NBC 5's Mary Ann Ahern reports. (Published Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015)

    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.

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