CHICAGO (CBS) — The final weekend of campaign 2015 found the two candidates for mayor racing all over the city, but both ended up in the same place Sunday night: Wrigley Field for Opening Night.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel took one of his daughters for the first game of the season, as the Cubs hosted the archrival Cardinals. Challenger Jesus “Chuy” Garcia took his wife to Wrigley. Both candidates found the Friendly Confines lived up to the nickname.
Gazing up at the statue of slugger Ernie Banks, and hoping for a home run of his own on Tuesday, Garcia made it clear this campaign stop was a labor of love.
He joked that he might be the only Cubs fan in Little Village, where the Sox are the more popular choice.
“It’s Jack Brickhouse’s fault. He hooked me in 1966, and I’ve been cheering for the Cubs all that long. Never hated on the White Sox, but my heart’s always been with the Cubs,” he said.
Garcia came in with the ordinary fans, and was repeatedly stopped by those offering encouragement and asking for pictures.
Emanuel received a similar – though a bit more subdued – reception an hour earlier, when he showed up to speak with reporters.
“I’m energized by the love and passion people have shown for their city, and their care, and I think they know instinctively that this is a big election, with big stakes, big challenges, and big opportunities that lie ahead of us,” the mayor said.
As a sitting mayor, Emanuel was greeted by Cubs owner Tom Ricketts, and sat right next to the Cubs dugout, where he chatted with new Cubs manager Joe Maddon.
Garcia, seated 20 rows up behind home plate. He wasn’t nearly as close to the field; but with his trademark mustache, has become a familiar figure; and everyone wanted to say hello.
Both candidates spent some of the day in churches, campaigning but still respectful of the holidays of Easter and Passover.
“I think Chicagoans also feel a sense of renewal. Spring is here, and I think the winds of change are blowing through Chicago,” Garcia said after celebrating Easter with Rev. Jesse Jackson at Greater Harvest M.B. Church in Washington Park.
Emanuel spoke Sunday morning at Monument of Faith Church, where he reflected on the importance of Passover.
“On that holiday, you remember the journey to freedom,” he said. “And we’re on a journey, as a city, together; and our destination is where our children have a better life,” he said.
The journey to Election Day is nearly done. The polls open Tuesday morning, and by Tuesday night, we should know whether Emanuel has won a second term, or has been upset by a challenger virtually unknown before throwing his hat in the ring six months ago.