Rahm rejected... Chicago's mayor faces runoff despite massive corporate media and money blitzes... Mayor's millions and Hollywood propagandists fail to offset citizens' rage against 'Mayor One Percent'

Despite unprecedented support from the President of the United States and a campaign that spent more than $15 million to elect him, Chicago's neoliberal mayor, Rahm Emanuel, will face the end of his political career in an April 7 runoff against Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia. It became official as of midnight on February 24, 2015 that Chicago's mouthy Mayor, Rahm Emanuel, had lost his bid for re-election and will now face a runoff on April 7, 2015 against second place winner "Chuy" Garcia.

Rahm's loss came despite the fact that the mayor had received the endorsements of Chicago's corporate media, some of the most important media on earth (including The Economist and The New York Times) and long-distance ruling class from as far away as Hollywood. Despite all the weight of wealth and power behind him, Rahm failed to get the majority required to avoid the runoff and now faces political termination as voters prepare for the showdown in six weeks. Emanuel's backing in the final hours came from corporate media ranging from The New York Times to The Economist, to celebrities including President Barack Obama.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel received only 45 percent of the vote on February 24, 2015. There will be a runoff.The results, according to the Chicago Tribune's website, were as follows:

Rahm Emanuel, 208,305 votes, 45.4%

Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, 155,545 votes, 33.9%

Willie Wilson, 48,660 votes, 10.6%

Robert W. "Bob" Fioretti, 33,911 votes, 7.4%

William "Dock" Walls, III, 12,692, 2.8%

Official with 98 percent of precincts reporting.



Rahm Emanuel failed to win a second term Tuesday, suffering a national political embarrassment as little-known, lesser-funded challenger Jesus Chuy Garcia forced the mayor into the uncharted waters of an April runoff election.

Second place winner in the February 24, 2015 Chicago municipal election, Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, will face Mayor Rahm Emanuel in the April runoff. Its the first time Chicago has had a runoff campaign for mayor, which is what happens when none of the candidates eclipses the 50 percent benchmark in round one.

With 98 percent of the citys precincts counted, unofficial results showed Emanuel with 45.4 percent and Cook County commissioner Garcia at 33.9 percent. Businessman Willie Wilson had 10.6 percent, 2nd Ward Ald. Bob Fioretti had 7.4 percent and frequent candidate William Dock Walls was at 2.8 percent.

Emanuel, who spent millions on TV ads to try to repair his image with voters following a difficult four years, attempted to portray optimism and patience despite the results.

We have come a long way and we have a little bit further to go. This is the first step in a real important journey in our city, Emanuel told supporters. For those who voted for someone else, I hope to earn your confidence and your support in the weeks to come.

Garcia sought to keep the pressure on by portraying himself as the populist progressive and attacking the mayor as a puppet of the large corporations and special interests he said filled Emanuels massive campaign fund. Garcia gleefully continued to embrace his role as Chicagos underdog.

Nobody thought wed be here tonight. They wrote us off. They said we didnt have a chance. They said we didnt have any money while they spent millions attacking us, Garcia said. Well, well, were still standing. Were still running, and were gonna win.

For Emanuel, the runoff represents a personal and political setback for a Washington-polished powerbroker long known on the national stage. His rivals consisted of lesser-funded and less-experienced candidates, and at times the mayors campaign carried an aura of inevitability, though it often lacked enthusiasm. That was reflected, in part, by the low voter turnout, which also came on a day with chilly temperatures and occasional snow.

Chicago election officials estimated turnout would finish just above the record low for a mayoral race of 33 percent set in 2007 when former Richard M. Daley won his sixth and final term in office. Turnout this time around was expected to hit 34 percent, officials said.

Unofficial results showed Garcia eclipsing Emanuel in 15 of the citys 50 wards, including 11 of 12 overwhelmingly Latino wards on the Northwest and Southwest sides. The mayor won the citys remaining 35 wards. Among Garcias victories was the 14th Ward, home of veteran Ald. Edward Burke, where the challenger unofficially topped 52 percent.

The runoff sharply changes the political dynamics. Voters will now measure Emanuel against just Garcia instead of a field of four other candidates. And Garcia will try to get those who voted against Emanuel, but not for him, to line up in his camp.

Emanuels aggressive fundraising and TV ad advantage are expected to continue. But the mayor also now faces more pressure to engage Garcia one-on-one, rather than largely dismissing his four opponents as Emanuel did during five debates.

Emanuel thanked Chicagoans for your vote of confidence. But Tuesdays results show that if the election was a referendum on Emanuels first term, he fell short of earning a passing grade. The main reasons: voter dissatisfaction with Emanuels decision to close 50 schools, his standoff with teachers during their 2012 strike and his struggles to tamp down violent crime, which spiked at times the last four years.

The results also reflect that Garcias message gained traction as he slammed Emanuel for a spate of shootings, school closings and not creating enough jobs in the neighborhoods, which the challenger argued had been left behind.

Garcia, a former alderman and state lawmaker, was a late entry into the race. He assumed the mantle of the Chicago Teachers Union after its president, Karen Lewis, ended a potential bid for mayor after being diagnosed with brain cancer.

Emanuel amassed a campaign fund of more than $16 million, with nearly half of it dedicated to 16 different broadcast television ads in which the mayor sought to shave off the sharp edge of his persona and overcome criticisms that marked his first four years.

But the advertising blitz, which included more than 4,600 TV spots that continued to churn Tuesday as the polls were open, was not enough to get to the 50-percent-plus-one-vote support Emanuel needed to prevent the citys first mayoral runoff election since Chicago campaign law was changed 20 years ago.

In a precursor to the April runoff, Emanuels campaign night party featured remarks from prominent supporter Democratic U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, who often spoke in Spanish. It was a direct acknowledgment of Garcias base in the Hispanic community.

Were in first place tonight and were going to be in first place again in April! Gutierrez said.

Much like his race for mayor four years ago, Emanuel spent heavily to get his message before voters. But this time around, he placed less focus on his well-known political caricature as a fiery and often foul-mouthed politician. Instead, as a longtime political operative well-versed in campaign messaging, Emanuel made the calculation that his campaign should be less about him and more about what he has done.

As a result, his campaign websites home page focused on an interactive Chicago map of city improvements over photos of Emanuel. His campaign slogan was rebranded from Chicago for Rahm to Chicago Together. And almost all of his campaign ads did not include him talking, but instead featured supporters lauding his specific accomplishments. It was an effort to soften Emanuels image with voters.

Emanuel had sought to paint his rivals as unable to articulate a cogent or comprehensive solution for dealing with the citys financial problems, though he stopped short of providing solutions, including a potential property tax increase to deal with a looming $550 million police and fire pension payment.

Opponents, particularly Garcia and Fioretti, sought to seize on the school closings and the citys spike in shootings on Emanuels watch as reason for voters to replace the mayor. Garcia repeatedly slammed Emanuel for not fulfilling a campaign promise to hire an additional 1,000 police officers, while the mayor countered he reassigned hundreds of officers from desk jobs to street beats. Garcia vowed to hire 1,000 additional cops, but did not entirely accounted for how hed pay for it.

Garcia and his fellow challengers also pushed for an elected school board as an answer to Emanuels appointed Board of Education voting to back his school closings.

In August, Emanuels job approval rating bottomed out at 35 percent, according to a Tribune poll that also found for the first time that every major demographic group in the city disapproved of his performance as mayor. That same poll had Emanuel trailing in a hypothetical one-on-one matchup with Lewis.

For four years straight, Tribune polling showed voters backing the Chicago Teachers Union over Emanuel when it came to their disputes on how best to run the citys school system.

A week before the election, a Tribune poll found Emanuels support at 45 percent with 18 percent undecided. But based on Tuesdays results, Emanuel failed to grow support in the final days while Garcia, who had 20 percent in the survey, captured the bulk of undecided voters.

The mayors failure to collect a majority came despite a visit by President Barack Obama just five days before the election. Emanuel was Obamas first White House chief of staff. The presidents visit became the source for a final Emanuel ad, aimed at African-American voters who had questioned the mayors support of poorer communities after they embraced his first mayoral campaign.

Emanuels opponents sought to turn the mayors financial advantage that paid for the ads into a weakness, often invoking the Mayor 1 Percent nickname hes been given by critics because of the large amounts of money hes raised from millionaires and billionaires.

All four challengers also accused Emanuel of running a pay-to-play administration after a Tribune series this month found that 60 percent of the mayors top campaign donors, accounting for $14 million since he first ran for office, had received some benefit from City Hall.

Emanuel repeatedly refused to discuss his campaign fundraising throughout the campaign, only to generally say he had changed the culture of ethics at City Hall. In the final weeks of the campaign, Garcia sought to spotlight Emanuels backing from millionaires and billionaires as weakness and evidence hes out of touch with average Chicagoans.

In his speech Tuesday night, Garcia aimed to sustain that pressure.

Today, we the people, have spoken, not the people with the money and the power and the connections, not the giant corporations, the big money special interests, the hedge fund and Hollywood celebrities who poured tens of millions of dollars into the mayors campaign, Garcia said. They all had their say. Theyve had their say for too long, but today, the rest of us had something to say.

For his part, Emanuel said he would return to campaigning Wednesday morning, heading to L stops to appeal to voters in a contest he contended will be about who has the strength, who has the leadership, who has the ideas to move this city forward.

Asked earlier Tuesday whether the prospect of having to face a runoff had made him more humble, Emanuel quipped, Listen. Ive got three teenagers at home and a wife. Dont worry about humble.

Tribune reporters David Kidwell, John Chase, Jeff Coen, David Heinzmann and Patrick M. OConnell contributed.


Chicago Rahm Emanuel was dealt a tough political blow on Tuesday, after he was forced into a runoff election to hold onto his seat as mayor of the Windy City.

Emanuel, who raised about $15 million for the campaign, finished first in the five candidate field, but fell far short of garnering the 50% plus one vote he needed to win outright and avoid a runoff election. He will now face the second place finisher, Cook County Commissioner, Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, on April 7.

With 95.7% of precincts reporting, Emanuel had 45.3% of the vote and Garcia had 33.9%.

"We came a long way, and we have a little bit further to go," Emanuel said.

Chicago ceased holding partisan primaries in 1995, when it switched to the current election format. It marks the first time that the city will hold a runoff mayoral election.

Emanuel, who raised more than his four rivals combined, buried his challengers in $7 million in campaign advertising in his unsuccessful attempt to avoid the runoff.


He even turned to President Obama, who Emanuel served as White House chief of staff from 2009 to 2010, as his chief surrogate.

Obama recorded a radio advertisement in which he endorsed Emanuel last month. Last week, the president flew to Chicago last week to announce the designation of the Pullman historic district, which manufactured sleeper cars at the turn of the 20th Century and was at the center of the black labor movement.

Emanuel's latest television advertisement featured a clip of Obama wrapping Emanuel in a hug at the Pullman event and a sound bite of the president touting the mayor as "making sure that every Chicagoan in every neighborhood gets the fair shot at success that they deserve."

But the president's influence wasn't able to help Emanuel close the deal.

"We need to upgrade our communities by building more and better schools," said Tracy McGrady, a college student and part-time construction worker. "Instead, Rahm is closing them."

In Chicago's Bronzville neighborhood, a predominantly African-American neighborhood, Emanuel supporters appeared to be a rare breed.

"I don't like Rahm," said Henry Ray, who said he voted for Wilson. "He is doing nothing for my people."

The mayor, a former U.S. congressman who served a district on Chicago's Northwest Side, has faced scathing criticism for his decision to close 50 city schools with low enrollment and the scorn of Chicago teachers, who staged their first strike in 25 years early in Emanuel's term. The mayor's reputation also took a hit when the city recorded more than 500 murders in 2012.

For his part, Emanuel has noted that he raised the minimum wage, expanded full-day kindergarten programs for children in the city, and made big improvements in Chicago's sprawling rapid transit system during his term.

"I like what [Emanuel] is doing for the city," said Barb Boronski, who cast her ballot for the mayor at St. Wenceslaus Church on the city's Northwest Side. "He does what the other candidates are afraid to do."

Cook County Commissioner John Daley sang Emanuel's praises not far from a polling station.

"Rahm has been an effective mayor and a strong leader in difficult times," said Daley, whose brother and father spent a combined 43 years as mayors of Chicago. "He loves his job and he shows it."

After it became clear on Tuesday evening that he'd forced a runoff, Garcia celebrated his second-place finish against the much-better funded Emanuel. He also continued his populist assault on Emanuel as "Mayor 1%."

"We've got six weeks of hard work ahead of us," Garcia told supporters at a campaign celebration. "Believe me. These big money interests are going to throw everything they've got at us. They run this town and they're not going to give up easily. "


He didn't throw his hat into his race until after Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis and Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle opted not to launch bids to unseat Emanuel.

Garcia, 58, was born in Durango, Mexico. His father was a farm laborer who worked fields in California, Kansas, and Texas. When Garcia was 10, the family gained permanent residency status and moved to Chicago. He later became a U.S. citizen.

In addition to serving as a Cook County commissioner, Garcia previously was elected to Chicago city council and served in the Illinois General Assembly.

Thom Serafin, Chicago-based political consultant, said he expects "an awfully entertaining horse-race" in the six weeks ahead.

Garcia's campaign could become "a rallying cry for labor and a new focus against the 1%," Serafin said. "The cinders are there all they need is a light. "


Forced into runoff against Garcia, hoarse Rahm says 'We have a little bit further to go'

For Rahm Emanuel, Tuesdays mayoral election was the political equivalent of Groundhog Day: six more weeks of campaigning.

With 97 percent of the precincts counted, Emanuel had 45.3 percent to 33.9 percent for his top challenger Jesus Chuy Garcia. Thats 4.5 percent short of the 50 percent-plus-one vote that the mayor needs to avoid an April 7 runoff against Garcia. Millionaire businessman Willie Wilson was running third with 10.5 percent, followed by Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd) with 7.4 percent and William Dock Walls with 2.7 percent.

The 34 percent turnout down from 42.5 percent four years ago should have benefited the incumbent with the $15 million war chest and the most sophisticated get-out-the-vote operation. But it was not enough to spare Emanuel from the political embarrassment of a runoff and a grueling Round 2.

Despite an 11th-hour in-person endorsement from President Barack Obama that Emanuel turned into a closing campaign commercial, Wilson got just enough of the African-American vote to deny the mayor a second term outright.

Garcia also appeared to be doing considerably better than final polling suggested.

Emanuel addressed his supporters shortly before 9:30 p.m. and tried to put the best possible face on an embarrassing situation.

Thank you, Chicago. Weve come a long way, and we have a little bit further to go, Emanuel said.

To those who voted for us, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. For those who voted for someone else, I hope to earn your support.

Still hoarse from a severe cold that hit him in the final days of the campaign, Emanuel congratulated Garcia for a good race and called him a good man with whom he looks forward to debating the issues in the weeks ahead. Then, he braced his supporters for the grueling, six-week spring ahead.

To those who are gathered here tonight and throughout the city, you have worked hard. I want you to take a moment to celebrate what we have accomplished over the last four years. Take stock in it, and let us double down because, tomorrow morning, Ill be seeing you at the L stops as I have every morning, the mayor said.

We will get back out there talking to our friends and families and neighbors as they make a critical choice about who has the strength, who has the leadership, who has the ideas to move this great city forward so we can secure the future of this great city for our children.

A triumphant Garcia followed the mayor to the podium, to the chants of Chuy, Chuy.

So, nobody thought wed be here tonight. They wrote us off. They said we didnt have a chance. They said we didnt have any money while they spent millions attacking us. Well, were still standing. Were still running and were gonna win, Garcia said.

Today, we the people have spoken. Not the people with the money and the power and the connections. Not the giant corporations. The big-money special interests. The hedge funds and Hollywood celebrities who poured tens of millions of dollars into the mayors campaign. They all had their say. Theyve had their say for too long. But today, the rest of us had something to say.

Garcia said he had just gotten off the phone with Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, who sends her love and said, Tell them this is about the new democracy.

Lewis persuaded Garcia to run in her place after she was diagnosed with brain cancer.

Then, Garcia framed the race ahead as a classic battle between the haves and have-nots.

Weve got six weeks of hard work ahead of us and believe me, these big-money interests are going to throw everything they got at us. They run this town and theyre not gonna give up easy. But were gonna fight and were gonna work hard and were gonna win. Were gonna keep this city together, he said.

Garcias campaign manager, Andrew Sharp, added, Theres a real hunger for change in Chicago. There are tens of thousands of voters in Chicago who came out today and voted for change. The city is not working for ordinary people, Sharp said.

Asked how Garcia could be outspent 12-to-1 and still force a runoff, Sharp said, In the words of the Beatles, Money cant buy you love.

If there was any doubt Emanuels decision to close a record,50 public schools had alienated black voters, it was erased by the ward-by-ward vote totals.

The mayors vote totals were way down in virtually every black ward. In the West Sides 28th Ward, Emanuel got 40 percent of the vote, down from 60 percent four years ago. The story was the same in the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th,9th, 17th, 20th, 21st, 24th, 29th and 34th Wards.

Most of the incumbent African-American aldermen publicly endorsed Emanuel, and many of them got financial help from the $2 million super PAC created to re-elect the mayor and bolster his City Council majority. But it was not enough to prevent a sizeable protest vote.

Emanuels political beating was capped off by the fact that one incumbent alderman was defeated outright and nine others backed by the mayors super PAC were forced into runoffs. Even Patrick Daley Thompson, the nephew of Emanuels political mentor, was forced into a runoff in spite of support from Chicago Forward.

During an animated impromptu press conference, Frank Avila Jr., an attorney for Willie Wilson, claimed credit for the mayoral runoff.

Without Willie Wilson in the race, Rahm Emanuel . . . would have been re-elected tonight, Avila shouted. Willie Wilson took it to Rahm Emanuel at his base with African-Americans and said Rahm was lying. At least a portion of those African-Americans listened to us.

Even in the 13th Ward, where powerful House Speaker Michael Madigan is the ward committeeman who worked hard for Emanuel, the mayor got just 50.9 percent to 36.7 percent for Garcia. In the 19th Ward, another one of the handful of strong Democratic ward organizations, Emanuel got just 41.3 percent to 36.4 percent for Garcia.

Trying to win more than 50 percent of the vote against four challengers is a tall order. It was particularly challenging for a polarizing figure such as Rahm Emanuel.

As the campaign drew to a close, Emanuel campaign advisers were realistic about the needle they were trying to thread.

He got 55 percent of the vote the last time with the wind at his back, said David Axelrod, Emanuels friend of 30 years who worked together with the mayor in the Obama White House.

Even the room Emanuel booked on election night symbolically located at Plumbers Union Hall lacked the energy of the mayors big night in 2011.

A subdued, sparse crowd milled about more than an hour after most polls closed as John Cougars Jack and Diane played in the background, with the words oh yeah, life goes on, holding a special irony.

Members of Local 1, made up of hospitality, restaurant and cafeteria workers, made up the bulk of what was an underwhelming crowd at the close of polls inside of Rahm Emanuel campaign headquarters.

Kenneth Williams, a 33-year union member who works as a Bell Captain at the Doubletree Hotel on Ohio, said he thinks Emanuel is the only candidate who will be willing to fight Republican Gov. Bruce Rauners proposed budget cuts.?Hes pretty much powerful enough, got the gumption enough, to stand up to the governor because I feel hes going to do some unreasonable things to the city, Williams said. Hes already talking about cuts in CTA. [Rauner] seems to be coming after unions.

Before the results were official, one supporter Ed Alexander, who lives in South Shore, still was holding out hope for 51 percent for Emanuel.

Ive seen a lot of the services that hes provided to a lot of the communities that I frequent, Alexander said. One is Engelwood area. Ive seen a lot of things hes brought to that area that are needed.? Like child care service. And hes also brought a legal assistance ?program there.

Dudley Ade Locke, a retired educator and school administrator, said he thinks Emanuel has gotten a raw rap on how hes handled schools. Schools are underperforming, Locke said. They need to be closed.

Like the election night party of fellow multimillionaire Rauner, the campaign for Wilson offered a cash bar to supporters who gathered in a Swissotel ballroom.

Though the potency was anything but certain, at $16 per well drink the price was certainly stiff.

As early totals trickled in, Wilson fielded a steady stream of interviews and relaxed in a 31st floor hotel room.

Regardless of the outcome, he said one thing is certain: Win, lose or draw Im in politics to stay.

Four years ago, Emanuel captured 58 percent of the black vote, 49 percent of the lakefront, one-third of the Hispanic vote and 49 percent of the white vote overall.

This time, the closest thing Emanuel had to a political base was the lakefront. There, he was hoping to reach the high-50s. If he did that, got half the black vote, hit the mid 50s among white voters and took a 35 percent bite out of Garcias Hispanic base, the mayors forces believed Emanuel could have avoided a run-off.

But the backlash against Emanuels decision to close a record 50 public schools apparently made holding half the African-American vote a tall order, in spite of Obamas verbal and physical embrace.

Wilson spent more than $2 million of his personal fortune, much of it in television advertising and full-page newspaper ads that ran in the closing days of the campaign.

By drawing a protest vote in the double-digits, Wilson made it impossible for Emanuel to reach the magic, 50 percent-plus-one. Garcias vow to deliver on Emanuels broken promise to hire 1,000 additional police officers obviously resonated and denied Emanuel even more votes.

A year ago, the mayors race was shaping up to be a far different story.

A Chicago Sun-Times poll showed Emanuels approval rating at 29 percent and just 8 percent among blacks.

But as vulnerable as Emanuel appeared to be, County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, the mayoral challenger that City Hall feared most, took a pass on the race, and so did other big-name challengers.

That prompted Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis to step up to the plate. She had already gotten the best of Emanuel during the 2012 teachers strike instigated by the mayors bullying missteps. She had the guts to take him on again.

What would have been a colorful, but divisive, campaign came to a crashing halt in November. Lewis was diagnosed with brain cancer. After emergency surgery to remove a malignant brain tumor, she bowed out and worked behind the scenes to persuade Garcia to pick up the mantle.

With a late start and a lower profile, Garcia was only able to raise $1.3 million. Emanuel raked in $15 million and outspent his No. 2 challenger more than 12-to-1.

Emanuels legendary fundraising was helped enormously by a longshot mayoral hopeful who donated $100,000 to himself, but ultimately decided not to run. That lifted state-imposed caps on campaign contributions and allowed Emanuel to go back to the same deep-pocket donors who had already maxed out.

During campaign debates, the nexus between Emanuels heavy-hitting donors and the mayors public appearances and official actions took center stage.

Fioretti pounced when asked about a Chicago Tribune investigation that concluded that half of Emanuels top 100 donors have received City Hall benefits ranging from contracts and permits to appointments and personal endorsements.

$30 million, then all of these board appointments and look at those top 103 [donors]. Sixty of em received some kind of contract, some kind of benefit. If thats not pay-to-play, I dont know what is, Fioretti said then.

Emanuel countered that the millions hes raised has not stopped him from standing up to big business.

During a pre-election interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, Emanuel said there is no quid pro quo or pay to play.

Ive taken on supporters. Their support for me is not about this permit or this license or this zoning. This is about creating stability, managing the challenges the city faces and doing it with a sense of strength and leadership, Emanuel said.

Theyre not getting anything. They dont support what Ive done on the minimum wage. They dont support how Ive cracked down on the housing piece and how I changed the way we do affordable housing. Did I not say to all the corporations that buy the skyboxes, `Youre not getting your little loophole anymore on the amusement tax?

Asked why he needs $15 million to get re-elected when his two strongest challengers didnt run, Emanuel said, Like I did for President Clinton and President Obama, I want people to know what weve done and what Im going to do. I think thats what campaigns are about.

The mayor used the money to blanket the airwaves with slick campaign commercials to rehabilitate his image, particularly with African-American voters angered by the school closings, charter openings, rampant shootings and by Emanuels top-down management style. When Garcia went negative, Emanuel retaliated.

The ads featured African-Americans and emphasized the biggest moves Emanuel made to undercut the progressive base of his strongest challengers: raising Chicagos minimum wage to $13 an hour by 2019 and offering free City Colleges tuition to CPS students who maintain a B average.

The mayor also got an 11th-hour boost from the $2 million super PAC created to re-elect Emanuel and strengthen his City Council majority.

Barred by law from coordinating with the Emanuel campaign, Chicago Forward made a $450,000 commercial and cable television buy on the mayors behalf and spent another $35,000 on robo-calls for Emanuel as the campaign drew to a close.

Chicago Forwards 30-second spot described Emanuel as a mayor as strong as Chicago, then trashed Garcia for casting a 1980s vote for the biggest property tax increase in city history and for claiming an illegal homeowners exemption on two houses at the same time to avoid paying over $8,000 in taxes.

The ad concluded with a kicker: Chuy Garcia: Out for himself. Not us.

Garcia was livid. He said the $8,500 in back taxes he owed the county was for a tax break he did not request and had no idea still applied to his parents Southwest Side home when he inherited the property after his mother died.

He defended his 1980s City Council vote for a property tax increase that was actually the second-largest in Chicago history as an effort to stave off 11,000 layoffs, including 5,000 police officers.

Garcia noted that Emanuel has been on TV since Thanksgiving and its the least successful Rahm-com ever.

Becky Carroll, the longtime mayoral ally now serving as chairman and CEO of Chicago Forward, didnt buy Garcias argument that his tough vote for an $80 million property tax hike staved off thousands of layoffs.

No one was ever prepared to lay off 11,000 workers. Mayor Harold Washingtons own staff admitted privately that the cuts were only a bluff and they would never have been carried out, Carroll said.

Garcia is willing to do and say anything to distance himself from the fact that he voted for the largest property tax hike in city history, just as he was willing to do anything to pass it.

Emanuel himself proposed a five-year, $250 million property tax increase to shore up two of four city employee pension funds before substituting a 56 percent increase in the monthly tax tacked on to telephone bills at the behest of former Gov. Pat Quinn.

All of those issues and more are certain to be replayed in a grueling Round 2.

Among those in the crowd at Emanuels party was the iconic Ronnie Woo-Woo, who was wearing his trademark Cubs uniform.

After Emanuels remarks concluded, he turned and said: So they gotta do all this again?

Contributing: Natasha Korecki, Lauren FitzPatrick, Brian Slodysko, Diana Novak Jones


It looks like Chicago wants a better, second look at the candidates for mayor.

With than more than 80 percent of the precincts reporting, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is well short of what he needs to avoid a runoff with the second place finisher, Cook County Commissioner Jesus Chuy Garcia.

Emanuel conceded in a speech to his supporters at about 9:30 p.m.

Emanuel had 202,393 votes, or 45.4 percent of the total, with slightly nearly 96 percent of the precincts reporting. He has been hanging at about that figure all night, and would need to pull in nearly 60 percent of what's left to reach the 50 percent plus one he needs to avoid a runoff.

Garcia clearly has held second place. He had 151,486 vote or 34 percent. Businessman Willie Wilson had 10.6 percent, Ald. Bob Fioretti, 2nd, had 7.4 percent, while former City Hall aide William Dock Walls had and 2.8 percent.

On the aldermanic front, April 7 runoffs appear to be shaping up in at lease 15 wards, according to final totals, but some could change when the last precincts come in.

Most likely are wards 2, 7, 10, 11, 15, 16, 18, 21, 29, 35, 37, 41, 43, 45 and 46.

Early this morning, turnout was seemingly on track to hit a record low for a mayoral election.


February 25, 2015 at 10:51 AM

By: bob busch


Good bye sleepy hollow.

Well I wonder if Rahm is sorry he told Karen Lewis to Fuck Off now?

Sorry Chuy but as well as you did, and as hard as you worked, remember you are

sloppy seconds. I wonder how well the real peoples candidate would have done?

Would she have won outright?

I am reposing something I wrote the day the last teachers strike began.

Volatile Mix

Who could ever dream that a goose feather and some water mixed with iron fillings would be the tools used to change the world forever.

when our founding fathers used those simple implements to scribe

We The People on a piece of vellum it was the end of the beginning. the Constitution is our crown jewel all we have to do is defend it forever.

Today the teachers of Chicago are on strike and some would have the public believe it is about greed. I hope they keep the horrendous editorials and teacher bashing spin in the limelight .This is a fight for the soul of a city, and by proxy a nation. Thousands of our brightest are out marching to save schools from destruction and our democracy from the ash heap of history. If this land is to stay free our educational system must remain the road map for opportunity. No other nation in the world gives everyone a chance except us.

We had to do this for our city our nation ourselves and especially for our students. Perhaps we might get a footnote in history let it start right now, right here.

Yesterdays election results showed how pissed off people are right now .Nice to know this

Most peaceful of a revolution began several years ago when everyone in power wrote off the Chicago Teachers Union, and made crude jokes about its leader, get well Karen I pray for you.

Rahm who is fucking who now?

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