In the final days of the Chicago mayoral campaign, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is criss-crossing the city with the goal of winning on February 24 and avoiding an April runoff, but he's not making his campaign schedule available to the media.
On Saturday, Emanuel's campaign advised the press of one event. Hours later a press release noted, "Mayor Emanuel Makes Six Campaign Stops with Seniors, Volunteers."
While the media was not aware of five of those stops and, therefore, did not witness how the public responded to the mayor or take any video or photos, the campaign noted, "high-res images are available upon request." In those photos, the mayor is seen shaking hands, sitting at a table with potential voters and speaking to a small group.
"Rahm Emanuel from his White House days knows well how to control the message," said Dick Simpson, a political science professor at UIC and former Chicago alderman. (In full disclosure, Simpson has contributed to both Jesus "Chuy" Garcia's election campaign and Bob Fioretti's.)
Simpson said that Emanuel providing campaign photos is a "bad precedent" as he's "trying to shape the story in a positive way."
"There has to be a public evaluation of Rahm Emanuel, the candidate, as well as Rahm Emanuel, the mayor," Simpson said.
When NBC 5 asked the campaign press secretary Steve Mayberry to respond to releasing campaign photos without informing the media of the events, he had no comment. For the mayor's Sunday campaign schedule, however, Mayberry said Emanuel will "make some quick, unscheduled stops today to meet with and talk to voters, but no campaign events are scheduled."
In other mayoral election news, Aldertrack is reporting Emanuel is pouring nearly $1 million into campaign ads for the final week. Emanuel has purchased $926,000 in broadcast and cable TV ads for the final days, which is almost three times what candidate Garcia is spending, according to Aldertrack.
Emanuel is also throwing in another $33,000 for radio ads, mainly targeting African-American radio stations.