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Emanuel Holds Big Lead, But Rivals Not Quitting

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Mayoral Candidates

(clockwise from top left): Gery Chico, Miguel Del Valle, Carol Moseley Braun and Rahm Emanuel are the leading candidates for mayor. (Credit: John Gress/Getty Images/CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – The candidates for mayor of Chicago have all but conceded that Rahm Emanuel will get the most votes on Feb. 22, but they said he won’t get the 50 percent-plus-one that he needs to avoid an April 5 runoff against the candidate who comes in second.

As CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports, even though some polls have Emanuel with more than 50 percent support, none of his rivals is throwing in the towel. Still, most camps admit things don’t look good for anyone but Emanuel.

Levine spoke privately with each campaign on Wednesday to get a sense of where they stand.

Carol Moseley Braun’s campaign admitted they’re still trying to regain traction, and raise money, but doesn’t have much of either. A spokesman said the Braun campaign was hurt by both the controversy over her tax return when Braun called a rival a crack addict.

But the Braun campaign said they’re in the race to stay, despite several recent polls showing her falling below 10 percent, in third or fourth place. Earlier in the race, she was in second place with better than 20 percent support.

The Braun campaign said it is now doing its own poll of voters in the African American community.

Gery Chico has been doing internal polling all along and his latest poll, CBS 2 News has learned, shows Emanuel at 46 percent, Chico at 23 percent, with 13 percent still undecided.

But that contradicts other recent polls that show Emanuel with more than 50 percent support.

The Chico campaign strategy for the last 2 weeks is simple: keep Emanuel below 50 percent.

Emanuel’s strategy has been to skip virtually all the community forums, but making nearly 200 campaign stops at ‘L’ platforms, bowling alleys and restaurants.

Emanuel plans to do a lot more appearances like those. He’s also spent $5.6 million on ads, like the new TV version of the radio spot featuring his former boss, President Barack Obama.

Total TV time bought by Emanuel and Chico so far has been worth over $7 million.

Emanuel, with his $12 million warchest, has outspent Chico by a ratio of nearly 4-to-1. The other candidates have some cable TV ads, but not much.

Miguel del Valle has admitted he can’t afford much paid media and he is relying on what he calls “earned media.”

He’s been to all 40 community forums. He’ll be there Wednesday night when Emanuel shows up for his first forum, sponsored by the Chicago Defender.

The irony is that, counting Wednesday night’s forum and those still to come, there will have been seven joint appearances by the four major candidates, which is the most there have ever been in a Chicago mayoral race.

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