By Meg Anderson
Mayoral candidate Jesus “Chuy” Garcia and nearly 4,000 supporters were making last minute stops across the city Tuesday to bolster Garcia’s bid to oust incumbent Mayor Rahm Emanuel of his seat.
Garcia, 58, already visited four polling locations as of 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, including voting with his wife at Daniel J. Corkery Elementary School at 2510 S. Kildare Ave.
Garcia needs votes for Emanuel to fall shy of 50 percent plus one in order to take on the mayor in a two-candidate run-off election April 7. A Feb. 15 Ogden & Fry poll has the incumbent receiving just over 49 percent of the vote, with Garcia a distant second.
“We are extremely enthused and optimistic that we are heading to a run-off April 7,” Garcia said Tuesday after voting at the Corkery School.
The campaign had people going door-to-door to visit voters they think will vote for Garcia, passing out flyers outside of polling locations, making phone calls, dropping off literature and hanging door hangers when voters are not home.
Garcia, who came into the race late after Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis dropped out due to a brain tumor diagnosis, said a run-off election would change the dynamics of the election and level the playing field between Garcia and Emanuel.
“My greatest challenge has been the lack of name recognition and the short time span,” Garcia said. “It gives people an opportunity to step back and really think about the direction they want the city to head in.”
Garcia said he hopes to see an increase in voter turn-out after 3 p.m. Tuesday when many voters leave work. Polls close 7 p.m. Tuesday.