CHICAGO — Chicago voters are heading to the polls in the city's first mayoral runoff as Rahm Emanuel seeks a second term over Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia.
The runoff Tuesday is the first since the city switched to nonpartisan elections in the 1990s. Emanuel failed to win the necessary majority for an outright victory in February. Garcia had the second highest number of votes in the five-candidate field.
Emanuel is a former White House chief of staff who has campaigned hard, trying to convince voters that a second term would be the best way to navigate Chicago's serious financial problems.
Garcia is a former alderman and state senator who's criticized Emauel for not listening to neighborhood residents. He's relied on his community contacts, high-profile endorsements and a strong field operation.
Around 175,000 voters chose to either vote early or mail in their ballots. The Chicago Board of Elections says this is an extremely high turn out for early voting.
It could be partially due to the fact that many are on spring break this week.
Even with the high number of early ballots, there has been a steady stream of voters at polling places since they opened at 6 a.m.
The polls are open until 7 p.m.