Candidates make final push to voters as election only days away

CHICAGO — The campaign for mayor is down to its final five days and 14 candidates are vying to replace Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who is not seeking re-election.

Some voters have already made their decision and cast a ballot. Chicago Board of Election officials said there were strong early voting totals, and said the total could exceed each of the last two municipal elections.

With less than a week before election day, the mayoral candidates were out campaigning for every last vote.

Gery Chico greeted commuters at a downtown CTA train stop, while Susana Mendoza met bus riders. Lori Lightfoot was endorsed by U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly.

Poet and professor Nate Marshall, who is following the race closely, said there were five or six candidates with a plausible path to victory based on fundraising, support in the wards and public polls.

He said the race looks like it could come down to Bill Daley and Toni Preckwinkle, and said it might also include Lori Lightfoot.

“I think Lori Lightfoot will be attractive to people who feel like they want to get out of the box a little bit, who are sort of leery of old-style machine politics, bit don’t kind of think of her as radical as Amara,” he said.

As the campaign hits the home stretch, voters are already making their decisions based on a candidate’s politics, policy and personality.

“It was a little difficult looking at multiple candidates, because some of them I felt had similar philosophies,” Alvin Chacko, a voter, said.

“No. 1, I figured out who will be best for Chicago, for education, for the police no. 1, and who can bring about same change into the city of Chicago and make it more vibrant, a safer city,” Michael Alvarado, a voter, said.

“Things like violence, the violence that’s going on that was something weighing heavy on my mind and bringing better economic opportunities to the city,” Sherri Ter Molen, a voter, said.

“I’m thinking of the one who really, really, really gets out there and gets the job done,” Jacqueline Sanguy, a voter, said.

“We’re all hoping our candidate gets into that runoff, and obviously is successful,” Joe Cothrel, a voter, said.

With no candidate likely to exceed 50 percent on election day, there will likely be a run-off. The campaign has already been influenced by corruption investigations at City Hall, so Marshall said it’s not likely a surprise scandal will influence the final few days of the campaign.

“We could say I’m looking for scandal to see if that shakes thing sup, but honestly, man, this is Chicago politics. Scandal is like breakfast,” Marshall said.

Several of the top candidates have flooded the airwaves with campaign ads, and planned rallies for the weekend designed to energize their supporters and get them out to vote on Tuesday.

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