Friday 20/07/2018 - 11:25 am


Chicago Ready to Decide Mayor Emanuel"s Re-Election Fate


2015.02.24 04:01

 Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel hopes to avoid being forced into a runoff when voters head to the polls Tuesday to decide whether to give the former White House chief of staff a second term.

 
Emanuel is poised to get the most votes after having raised millions of dollars, plastering the airwaves with ads and winning an endorsement from his former boss, President Barack Obama. However, his four challengers say Emanuels tenacious style and handling of some major city issues have left voters wanting a change.
 
He needs more than 50 percent to win re-election outright in the nonpartisan race. Otherwise, hell have to go head-to-head with the runner up, which could be embarrassing for the incumbent, who enjoys not only a huge financial advantage but the backing of business leaders and the endorsement of the citys major newspapers.
 
The key will be turnout, which could rival numbers four years ago when Mayor Richard Daley retired after more than two decades and the race was wide open. Already, early voting numbers — pushed by all the candidates — have bested 2011 levels, with a more than 20 percent increase despite a blast of cold weather.
 
Emanuel has campaigned on the idea that his tested leadership is what the city needs.
 
"You gave me a chance to make the tough decisions this city needed, and weve improved our schools, our infrastructure, and our public safety," he told supporters in an email Monday. "But theres more work to be done, and Ill need your help to make sure we can continue the progress weve made."
 
The Democrat is facing Cook County Commissioner Jesus Garcia, Alderman Bob Fioretti, businessman Willie Wilson and perennial candidate William Walls.
 
Theyve put Emanuel on the defensive over his handling of a contract dispute that led to Chicagos first teachers strike in 25 years, the closing of nearly 50 neighborhood schools and a spike in violent crime. They have also criticized his sometimes-combative style.
 
"In Chicago neighborhoods, people are largely turned off," Garcia said. "They have found him to be distant and uncaring, not really engaging in neighborhoods."
 
But Emanuel has said he made decisions that helped the city and challenged the status quo. Hes countered claims by taking a neighborhood-focused approach to the campaign trail, including talking up his push to increase the citys minimum wage, from $8.25 to $13 by 2019.
 
Also, Tuesday, Chicago voters will decide several hotly contested aldermanic races. Election officials hope turnout will match 2011 levels. Roughly 42 percent of eligible Chicago voters cast ballots that year, up from 33 percent in 2007.
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