Early Voting in Chicago Favors Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Other than the races in my city and state come Tuesday is the race for mayor of Chicago.  Early voting is underway and the trends favor the incumbent.   I am predicting a blow-out type election. Rahm Emanuel by at least 15%.

Here are the numbers. The top turnout ward so far is the downtown 42nd Ward, with a total of 7,238 early votes and absentee apps submitted. The ward cast only 8,920 votes in February, and is going to breeze way, way past that in the runoff. Emanuel got 73.5 percent of the vote there in February.

Next in line is the 41st Ward on the Northwest Side, with 6,507 so far, and where Emanuel got 47.8 percent the last time around. Following that are—in this order—wards 43, 19, 44, 2, 47, 45, 11 and 13, all on the North Side lakefront, Northwest Side or Southwest Side.

 

Chicago Can Not Afford To Let Rahm Emanuel Lose Mayoral Election

Almost every radio broadcast I hear from Chicago about the mayoral election comes down to the point that challenger Jesús (Chuy) Garcia has horrible math skills when it comes to the city budget, or is living in fantasy land.

Rahm Emanuel may drive some parts of the Democratic Party crazy but at least there is economic sense to his policy moves. It takes a pragmatic hand to rule a city.  The Economist seems to agree.  I have said for weeks this race was one to watch, but at the end of the day it would be a victory for the incumbent, and I still strongly hold to that view.

The trouble with nice Mr García’s pledges is that Chicago is beyond broke. On February 27th Moody’s, a credit-rating agency, downgraded the city’s credit-worthiness to two notches above junk, mostly because Chicago is carrying more than $20 billion in unfunded liabilities for four of its pension funds, and already has a deficit of around $300m in its operating budget. Moreover, a payment of $550m for the police and firemen’s pension fund is due at the end of this year, and the public schools are $1.1 billion in the red.

Mark Kirk, a Republican senator from Illinois, has warned that Chicago could follow Detroit into bankruptcy if Mr García wins. García fans dispute this, pointing out that he was the floor leader for Toni Preckwinkle, president of the Cook County board, who managed to balance the county budget last year for the first time in years. Some on the left accuse Mr Kirk of racism for even suggesting that creditors might not trust Mr García.

Mr García hopes to appeal to Latinos and African-Americans, who are nearly two-thirds of Chicago’s voters. But many blacks think Hispanics and other immigrants are taking their jobs, while many Hispanics hold prejudices about blacks living on welfare. In the first round Mr Emanuel received almost 43% of the vote in wards with a black majority; Mr García got 25%. The latest polls strongly favour Mr Emanuel, but undecided voters could still tip the scales. Whoever wins will swiftly need to placate the bond market.

Chicago Mayoral Election Getting Grittier

If you listen hard enough you can hear the sizzle of the heat in the Chicago mayoral election.

 

“In Chicago, politics is a contact sport, and it looks like we’re going to have one of those full-contact battles,” said Bill Daley, a former White House chief of staff whose father and brother each served as Chicago mayor for more than 20 years.

Emanuel — once thought to be a shoo-in in the April 7 runoff — plans to launch an ad campaign in the coming days intended to discredit Garcia and cast him as a do-nothing pol who’s accomplished little during his two decades in public service, according to sources close to the mayor. The commercials will also present the mayor, who’s come under fire for closing underperforming schools in hardscrabble neighborhoods and for hiking taxes to close the city’s budget deficit, as someone who is willing to make tough decisions even if they aren’t popular.

The mayor has already begun road-testing his message. Last week, his campaign hammered Garcia for opposing the placement of Barack Obama’s presidential library in Chicago, saying that it “speaks volumes about his lack of leadership.” On Monday, Garcia, who had expressed concern about putting the library on city park land, appeared to back down. “Whatever the final decision is,” Garcia said, “I will support.”

Emanuel declined to be interviewed for this story. But, in an email sent through a spokeswoman, he wrote that the election is now “a clear choice between two very different visions of Chicago’s future and how to get there. One path sidesteps our problems and delays the solutions as they get worse and worse, and the other is about confronting our challenges head on.”

Few could have predicted that Emanuel, 55, would be in such a precarious position against Garcia.

CNN Made Journalistic Mistake With “Chicagoland”

For the past eight weeks James and I have been watching Chicagoland on CNN.  For me it has underscored the need for stricter gun control laws in this nation, and the need to have strong schools. and even stronger family units.  As a lover of Chicago the show was a touchstone to the things that interest me about the diversity and complexities of this amazing city.

But today news was reported about the show that concerns me from a journalistic perspective.

Up front I like Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and certainly understand why he would have a vested interest in wanting to making himself, and certain aspects of the show work in his favor.  Politicians would be crazy not to want to be presented in the best light.

But CNN should have alerted the viewers to the working relationship they had with Emanuel so the viewers would have had that added layer of insight as they watched the documentary.  Even more to the point had I been in charge of the production there would have been no ability of any politician to shape or help mange the filming.    There are just some foundations of journalism that can not be massaged and undermined if a final product is to be a credible one.

Sometimes the truth needs a little bit of help. According to emails obtained by the Chicago Tribune, Chicagoland’s producers coordinated with Mayor Rahm Emanuel in order to shape how certain events unfolded and to make the mayor “look good.”

“If it seemed as though some scenes of CNN’s documentary series Chicagoland were coordinated by Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s City Hall and the show’s producers, that’s because they were,” the Tribune reported on Friday.

“More than 700 emails reviewed by the Tribune reveal that the production team worked hand in hand with the mayor’s advisers to develop storylines, arrange specific camera shots and review news releases officially announcing the show,” the report continued:

Producers asked the mayor’s office to help them set up key interactions in what the cable network has billed as a nonscripted eight-part series, including Emanuel’s visits with the school principal who emerged as a star of the show, emails show.”

Among the emails obtained by the Tribune were a series of communications coordinating an appearance by the mayor at a local elementary school. In that exchange, one producer promised that the scene would reflect well on Emanuel:

“Still need more Rahm,” [Chicagoland executive producer Mark] Benjamin wrote to Hamilton, Emanuel’s communications director. “Need the mayor at Fenger High School with Liz also. I know I am needy but we want more Rahm in the series. I know I sound like a (broken) record, but in the Feb. ’14 broadcast, Rahm will look good making ‘his’ points.”

Best Quote In Today’s Newspaper From Rahm Emanuel

A great read about President Obama’s China policy in this morning’s newspaper included a great quote from Rahm Emanuel.  ( More on news quotes here.)

At the center of the internal debate on China was a president, who despite being born in Hawaii and spending childhood years in Indonesia, is less beguiled by China’s history and culture than many of his predecessors were, aides said. Once in office, they said, Mr. Obama came to view China primarily through an economic prism. He is angry at what he sees as Beijing’s refusal to play by the rules in trade, and frustrated by the United States’ lack of leverage to do anything about it.

It is little surprise that Mr. Obama would look east. The president’s Asia, however, lies not on the wind-swept ramparts of the Great Wall of China but in the tropical swelter of Singapore and Indonesia. He identifies more with the languid rhythms of Jakarta, aides say, than with the crackling energy of Shanghai.       

An adviser recalled a breakfast at a summit meeting in Toronto in 2010 that Mr. Obama shared with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia, which was so relaxed and serene that afterward the president’s hyperactive chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, told him, “Now I see what your Asianness is about.”

Does Donald Trump Have Deals In Chicago That Needs To Be Greased?

Snicker.  At least Donald Trump knows he can’t make it without Democrats to help him out.

Real estate billionaire Donald Trump gave Chicago mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel  (former White House Chief of Staff for President Obama)$50,000 in December 2010, just months before hinting to the media he is seriously contemplating a bid to be the Republican Party’s 2012 presidential nominee.

Rahm Emanuel Will Be The Next Mayor Of Chicago!

CNN projects former Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel wins the Chicago mayoral vote by more than 50%, avoiding a runoff.  

BREAKING NEWS: Rahm Emanuel Can Be On Chicago Ballot For Mayor

As it should be.

The Illinois Supreme Court ruled today that former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel meets the residency requirements to run for Chicago mayor, overturning a lower court ruling and re-installing him as the race’s frontrunner.

“This is a situation in which, not only did the candidate testify that his intent was not to abandon his Chicago residence, his acts fully support and confirm that intent,” the court wrote in the ruling, which you can read in full here.