According to a new poll, the runoff race between Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) and his little known challenger, Chuy Garcia, is now a dead heat.
Emanuel, who previously served as President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, posted support from 42.9% of likely voters in the Windy City compared with 38.5% support for Garcia in the survey, which was conducted by Chicago polling firm Ogden & Fry.
In the poll, which was conducted February 28, 18.6% of respondents said they were undecided.
Despite Emanuel’s national prominence and heavy spending on the race, he failed to score a clear majority in the February 24 Chicago mayoral race, receiving only 45% of the vote. Garcia, the Democratic Cook County Commissioner and a former member of the Chicago City Council, won 34% of the vote. The runoff is scheduled for April 7.
Garcia’s campaign celebrated the poll results in a statement to the Chicago Sun-Times that predicted “his support will continue to grow.” But Emanuel’s team brushed aside the significance of the close numbers.
“Chicago voters face a clear choice between Rahm, who has a clear record and plan to create good jobs, and Chuy Garcia, who has failed to get much of anything done in nearly 20 years on the big issues facing the city, but who is all of a sudden making pie-in-the-sky promises and writing checks Chicago can’t cash,” his campaign manager told the Sun Times.
Forcing a runoff was a major upset victory for Garcia. It was partially fuelled by attempts to cast Emanuel as preoccupied with wealthier Chicagoans. The Working Families Party, a national progressive group that supports Garcia’s bid also issued a statement on the poll declaring he “is just the guy to show that the 1% doesn’t always win.”
“All eyes are on Chicago. Rahm Emanuel is betting that he can raise enough campaign cash to hide his record of taking from working families to give to the rich,” the Working Families Party statement said.
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