It is the day after the big ABC7 debate -- and the day before what may be the last weekend of the 2011 mayoral campaign -- and that means those who want to unseat the front-runner, or at least force him into a run-off election six weeks from now, are picking up where they left off Thursday night
The back and forth of Thursday night's debate gave way to upbeat campaign appearances Friday for most of the major candidates for mayor.
Emanuel, who could clinch the city's top job in next Tuesday's election, headed to where swing voters for him are located -- the South Side -- to talk about the need for more grocery stores in poorer neighborhoods. Emanuel said his career has been about helping people get to the middle class.
Emanuel defended his choice to not engage his competitors too much.
"I will continue to go directly where people live, where they work, where they pray, where they commute to work, to talk about what it takes to bring about the changes we need," Emanuel said.
Gery Chico outlined Friday his plans to make one-day business permits from City Hall possible. He said his internal polling shows he can get past the February 22 election and into a run-off with Emanuel
"We are looking at April 5, that's the date circled on our calendar," Chico said. "This is serious business for us. This is about taking the city in a new direction -- what's that new direction? You are hearing it here today."
Former Senator Carol Moseley Braun's fundraiser Friday provided a backdrop to her strategy going into the weekend: Stop Emanuel from picking up African-American support by saying he voted against the Congressional Black Caucus 128 times.
"How you do that and then come back to the black community, and say 'I am with you?' It is just shocking, and stunning, and otherworldly, and we have to be out here telling the truth," said Braun.
City clerk Miguel del Valle also visited a primarily African-American ward -- the Lawndale neighborhood -- and decried those who would do the bidding of well-heeled interests to the detriment of poorer neighborhoods.
"We cannot continue to do the same things we have done in the past," said del Valle. "It is time for real significant change in the direction of the City of Chicago."
Late Friday, the Emanuel campaign said it will return $50,000 in contributions from employees of Jimmy John's, the sandwich chain based in downstate Champaign. State law limits individual donations to $5,000 of one's own money and businesses to $10,000. The campaign thought it might look improper that 10 employees gave the maximum individual contribution. Records show those who gave ranged from the CEO to an executive assistant.