CHICAGO (CBS) — With exactly one month left until the election for mayor of Chicago, the race has turned into a monthlong sprint for votes.
The latest polls have showed Rahm Emanuel with a sizable lead on his opponents — So much so that some pundits now think he could possibly win more than 50% of the vote on Feb. 22 and avoid a runoff election in April.
But as CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports, the other candidates were not running scared.
They know Emanuel has more money than all of the rest of them combined and they know he’s formidable competitor who is now widely considered to be the man to beat. But, despite that, they said they’re in it to win it.
And like their hometown Chicago Bears, they’re hoping to turn the mantle of underdog into that of come-from-behind winner.
On the North Side on Saturday, Carol Moseley Braun cut the ribbon to mark the opening of her latest campaign office.
Meantime, on the South Side, Emanuel greeted voters at a Hyde Park restaurant, while Gery Chico was out for multiple campaign events across Chicago.
“We’re criss-crossing the entire city,” Chico said.
City Clerk Miguel del Valle, who has been trailing far behind the other three major candidates in both the polls and in campaign cash, picked up the endorsement of State Rep. Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston) and author and labor attorney Tom Geoghegan on Saturday.
The men and women who would be Chicago’s next mayor were working hard with exactly one month left before the election.
All of the candidates seemed to think that race won’t play as large of a role in this election as in the past.
Asked if thinks race has been neutralized as an issue in Chicago, Chico said, “I hope so. I mean, I’m hoping for the day in Chicago where we go beyond race and we look at who the best person is to serve Chicago, irrespective of race.”
Emanuel said, “I think the traditional issues that have been divisive are actually the ones that bring together our common challenges for safer streets, stronger schools and more stable finances for our economy.”
Braun said she believes that the media focuses on race as an issue far more than voters do.
“I think that I’ve always run a multi-racial, multi-ethnic coalition campaign,” Braun said. “That’s the way I’ve always run. I’m not going to change my stripes now.”
At Valois cafeteria in Hyde Park, many voters seemed to be captivated by Emanuel.
“I think we need a strong man like Rahm,” one voter said.
But Braun wasn’t about to cede ground when it comes to strong leadership.
“I’m not going to go into a verse of ‘I Am Woman (Hear Me Roar,)’ but women can be strong too,” Braun said.
Emanuel was shadowed on Saturday by a New York Times columnist.
But Chico said that such national interest in President Barack Obama’s former chief of Staff just goes to show that Emanuel is beholden to the many outsiders who have helped bankroll his campaign.
Emanuel has raised nearly $12 million for his campaign, most of it – about $6.7 million – from outside of Chicago.
“Most of Emanuel’s money is from Wall Street and Hollywood. That’s just not who we are in Chicago,” Chico said.
But Emanuel said much of his money comes from local people – about $3.9 million from Chicago residents. He also said he’s proud that people like Apple CEO Steve Jobs think enough of his campaign to invest in it.