A Cook County commissioner is giving Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel a run for his money – and his political office – as he closes in on the incumbent in a recent poll of likely voters.
Jesus “Chuy” Garcia and Emanuel, who is seeking his second term as mayor, are in a “dead heat” in an Ogden and Fry poll conducted for the Illinois Observer.
The men are facing off against each other in a runoff campaign for the Democratic nomination. The runoff election is scheduled for April 7.
“They’re likely dead even,” pollster Tom Swiss was quoted as saying in the Chicago Sun Times. Emanuel had just under 43 percent support and Garcia almost 39 percent, considered practically even with the plus-minus 3.2 percent margin of error.
The poll firm noted that Latinos tend to be under-represented in polls.
About 18.6 percent of those polled said they were undecided.
“We continue to believe that as the city learns more about Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia’s agenda for change, his support will continue to grow,” said campaign manager Andrew Sharp in a statement quoted by the Chicago Sun Times. “We have seen a lot of polls over the last few months, and we saw the results of the election last Tuesday. One fact remains constant — a majority of Chicagoans do not want four more years under Mayor Emanuel.”
Emanuel’s campaign manager, Steve Mayberry, dismissed the results of the latest poll, saying that Emanuel had a proven track record of achievements.
“Chicago voters face a clear choice between Rahm, who has a clear record and plan to create good jobs," he said to the Sun Times, "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.”
The latest poll shows a drop for Emanuel and a gain for Garcia from a Chicago Tribune poll conducted last month, before the mayoral primary, that showed nearly half of the city’s voters leaning toward Emanuel and only 20 percent favoring Garcia.
Latinos have proven underrepresented in pre-election polls, although that hasn't always dramatically changed results in elections. But it could bode well for Garcia – the Tribune poll found that 48 percent of Hispanics favored him compared to only 18 percent of whites and 13 percent of blacks.