Mayoral candidates chase votes ahead of polls closing

By Christina Bucciere

Chicago’s runoff mayoral contenders hit the campaign trail for the last time early Tuesday morning to garner last-minute support.

They each shared confident thumbs up and generic good-natured banter with voters and media as they both predicted victory.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel faces Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, the top two contenders after each candidate failed to win a majority of the vote in February.

Both mayoral candidates started greeting voters at 6 a.m. at train stations across the city.

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Garcia started at the Chicago Transit Authority Jefferson Park Blue Line station where he spoke to voters, the media and rubbed the paint-chipped nose of the Thomas Jefferson statue for good luck outside the station.

“It’s a tradition here, I’m told,” Garcia told reporters.

He also spent time at the Merchandise Mart Brown Line station around 9 a.m. before heading to his canvas kick-off at his field office on Hubbard Street.

(Adriana Cargill/Medill)
Garcia spent the morning greeting commuters at Blue and Brown Line stations. (Adriana Cargill/Medill)

He later plans to greet voters at Ms. Biscuit, a restaurant on Wabash Avenue, talk to students on State Street and meet voters at the 18th Street Pink Line station this evening.

Emanuel’s schedule is less full, starting by shaking hands and taking pictures with voters in the 8th Ward at the 95th Street Red Line station. Emanuel told voters “it’s their future on the ballot,” and he will eat lunch with supporters at Manny’s Deli on Jefferson Street this afternoon.

(Noor Wazwaz/Medill)
Bob Fioretti met Mayor Rahm Emanuel at Manny’s Deli for lunch. (Noor Wazwaz/Medill)

Voters will have until 7 p.m. to end Chicago’s first-ever, six-week runoff at polls across the city to settle 18 aldermanic races and decide who will be the Chicago’s next mayor.

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More than 142,000 people voted in the early voting period, which is more than double the amount of early votes in the February early voting period. As voters head to the polls to choose between Emanuel and Garcia, they use the Twitter megaphone to share their thoughts on the election with divisive hashtags, such as #dumpRahm, #chuy2015 and #ImWithRahm.

Additional reporting by Adriana Cargill and Mathias Meyer.

Photo at top: Left – Mayor Rahm Emanuel at the Chinese New Year celebration in Chicago’s Chinatown neighborhood. (Ezra Kaplan/Medill) Right – Mayoral candidate Jesus “Chuy” Garcia announced Tuesday night he will go on to challenge Mayor Emanuel in a run-off election April 7 (Meg Anderson/Medill).