Race For Mayor Entering Home Stretch In Chicago

CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago’s mayoral candidates were entering the final hours of campaigning on Monday.

Voters will cast their ballots on Tuesday, so candidates were doing everything they can Monday to garner votes.

Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia was visiting the 95th Street Red Line terminal early Monday, meeting with members of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308, which represents CTA bus drivers and train operators.

Garcia has predicted a “good enough showing” in Tuesday’s election to force a runoff with Emanuel in April.

“I think people really tuned in over the last week. They saw our ads, they heard our message, and they’re responding very favorably. Right now it’s just getting every volunteer to do the work they’re supposed to do, and we’re very pumped up. We are headed for a runoff,” Garcia said early Monday.

Recent polls have shown Emanuel just shy of the majority vote needed to avoid a runoff, with Garcia his closest challenger.

Businessman Willie Wilson, who is running third in the polls, met early Monday with a roomful of ministers and other supporters Monday morning at the Chicago Baptist Institute, a training school for ministers, where Wilson serves as chairman.

Wilson said his own polls have shown he’s gaining ground in the race, not just among African-American voters, but with other groups unhappy with Emanuel as well.

However, he said he realizes any attempt to force a runoff with Emanuel will require a big turnout from his base, and expressed confidence in his “grassroots” effort to get out the vote on Tuesday.

“We’ve got signs and posters. We’re knocking on doors. Some of the pastors here already have buses, and already took them to the polls, and we’re prepared to do that tomorrow as well,” Wilson said.

All five candidates for mayor spent the better part of the weekend meeting voters face-to-face.

Ald. Bob Fioretti spoke to voters Sunday at a church service inside Leak Funeral Home chapel.

“My vision of Chicago is safe streets, strong neighborhoods; one vision, one goal, one Chicago for everyone,” he said.

Community activist William “Dock” Walls appeared at the same service, and said, while he hasn’t spent the most money in the campaign, his goal throughout has been to appeal to the average Chicagoan.

“We made a pledge. We represent common, average, everyday people. That’s who we represent. We represent those mothers and fathers. We represent those sisters and brothers,” he said.

Garcia and Emanuel met with voters at a restaurant in Chinatown on Sunday, before marching in the Lunar New Year Parade.

Emanuel focused on promises he made to kids during his time in office.

“We made a commitment as a city; in two years’ time, every child in the city of Chicago will be within a 10-minute walk of a park or playground in the city of Chicago. Now, some may have to walk a fast 10 minutes,” he said.

All five candidates had busy schedules on Monday, in an effort to meet as many voters as possible on the last day of the campaign.

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