Mayoral candidates work to woo voters

January 30, 2011 8:17:11 PM PST
All the candidates were out Sunday trying to drum up new support, or shore up their base with just over four weeks to go until Election Day.

All but one candidate participated in a forum before voters Sunday afternoon.

"We are going to have a jobs- creation program here in Chicago, create 100,000 self- perpetuating, private sector jobs," said mayoral candidate William "Dock" Walls.

With just 25 days left before Election Day, voters hope to hear more about the issues from Chicago's mayoral candidates.

"I'm ready to hear about issues. I don't want to get sidetracked on things that are not important. We're in deep trouble here in Chicago," said voter Cheryl Raynor.

Before Sunday's forum at Trinity United Church of Christ on the South Side, most of the candidates spent the morning trying to get out the vote.

A cash-strapped Miguel del Valle toured small businesses in Chinatown while touting his neighborhood revitalization plan.

"This election is a turning point," del Valle said. "It is an election that is going to determine whether or not we are finally going to focus on our neighborhoods and build up our neighborhoods throughout the city of Chicago."

Meanwhile, underdog Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins took her grassroots campaign to several churches.

Mayoral front-runner Rahm Emanuel did not attend Sunday afternoon's forum, opting instead to visit a Bucktown cycle shop to not only highlight his plan to expand Chicago's transportation options but also slam challenger Gery Chico's criticism of the Emanuel revenue plan.

"I have proposed a way to do the budget and also three cuts in taxes," Emanuel said. "I stand firmly on the side of protecting working-class, middle-class families."

"Mr. Emanuel has proposed the single largest tax increase in the state," said mayoral candidate Gery Chico. "This will affect people going to get their oil changed, their car washed."

Hoping to score points with early voters, Chico defended his position on what he calls the "Rahm Tax," as Carol Moseley Braun returned to Chicago with campaign cash and another endorsement.

"This is the theme of my plan, support the neighborhoods and bring everybody in. Excluding no one but including everybody," Moseley Braun said.

Some potential voters just say they want to see change.

"Something new for our city as long as it moves us forward, that's the most important thing," said voter Dr. Loris Rayner.

The candidates will square off on Thursday, February 17 in a debate hosted by ABC7, the League of Women Voters and numerous community organizations. It will be broadcast live on air and online from the Oriental Theatre.