Updated 10/20/14 – 12:15 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — President Barack Obama was in Chicago on Monday, with a focus on rallying fellow Democrats to cast their ballots in the race for governor.
The president wasted no time trying to drum up support and votes for Democratic candidates, including Gov. Pat Quinn, at rally at Chicago State University, where he told a crowd of thousands to take advantage of early voting, and cast their ballots before Election Day on Nov. 4.
“The first thing I’m going to do tomorrow is cast my vote to re-elect Dick Durbin, and get my friend Pat Quinn four more years as governor of the great state of Illinois,” Obama said. “Starting tomorrow, you can vote, too. You’ve got to grab your friends. You’ve got to grab your co-workers. Don’t just get the folks who you know are going to vote.”
The president cast his ballot late Monday morning at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in the Bronzeville neighborhood. The lanky Obama crouched over a voting machine, joking “this was made for folks that are a little shorter than me.”
Obama’s trip to Chicago on Sunday and Monday was the second time he has come back home this month to drum up support for Quinn, who is in a hotly-contested race against Republican challenger Bruce Rauner.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle also helped motivate the crowd of approximately 6,200 Democratic voters who attended the South Side rally.
“This president comes home to fire us up. We’re going to let those millionaires and billionaires know Illinois is not for sale,” Durbin said.
As time winds down on the race, the governor has turned up the heat on Rauner, who he repeatedly has painted as an out-of-touch multi-millionaire.
“My opponent has nine mansions, and he has $60 million in one year, and he thinks we should eliminate the basic minimum wage,” Quinn said. “The only way we can take on big money is the best way in America, and that’s standing together and voting at the ballot box.”
With Election Day just more than two weeks away, the race is closer than ever, with recent polls showing the contest essentially is a tie.
Now facing the opposition of every major newspaper in the Chicago area – all of which have endorsed Rauner for governor – Quinn and his fellow Democrats were working hard to get out the vote in Democratic strongholds.
After the rally at Chicago State University, Obama headed to his home in Kenwood for the night, before a Democratic National Committee fundraiser Monday afternoon before heading back to Washington.
The president also visited Chicago earlier this month for a speech on the economy and a Quinn fundraiser.
Former President Bill Clinton also was scheduled to headline a Quinn campaign event on Tuesday, a day before Vice President Joe Biden comes to Chicago to lend his support to the governor’s bid for re-election.
First Lady Michelle Obama and former Secretary of State and likely 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton also have visited Chicago recently to help Quinn in his race against Rauner.