Mayoral candidates vying for No. 2 spot

February 13, 2011 8:27:39 PM PST
In the final days of the campaign for Chicago mayor, there's a battle for second place.

With Rahm Emanuel as the acknowledged front-runner, other candidates are hoping he gets less than half the votes forcing a run-off.

The race for second place seems to come down to former Chicago schools president Gery Chico and former U.S. Senator Carol Moseley Braun.

Now it's time for the candidate sprint -- rallies, speeches and making sure the phone banks are running on all cylinders.

As for the polls nine days out, candidates typically down play them saying, "The only real poll that counts is on election day."

But they do study them, especially this time, because if there isn't a strong second place finisher, it could be over and done nine days from now.

Chico was pumped at a big rally Saturday.

He's a candidate who says four months ago, this might have seemed unimaginable.

"Everywhere I go people honk and say, 'Chico let's talk,'" Chico said.

Chico believes he's surging and will finish a strong enough second to prevent a one-and- done by the man Chico calls "the candidate of the status quo."

Emanuel was on the phone Saturday. So were his friends. What they want and what he wants is to end it with 50 percent plus one in the first round. "We've got eight days. Eight days to work so we can have a new beginning for our city," Emanuel said.

As the front-runner, Emanuel is in everyone's sites.

Moseley Braun, who was welcomed by Pakistani American supporters Sunday night, says Emanuel has no real record of his own and is milking the popularity of his old boss.

On Sunday, the Moseley Braun campaign criticized the methodology of two recent polls.

The Chicago Tribune poll taken between February 5 and February 9 showed her with 10 percent of support among likely voters. An ABC7 poll taken between February 3 and February 7 showed Moseley Braun's candidacy languishing in the single digits.

"Some of the media polling has, in our view and based on the results of this survey, underestimated Senator Braun's still-broad appeal among African-American voters," said pollster Rod McCulloch.

The Moseley Braun campaign-funded poll was conducted from February 10 to February 12, and surveyed 801 residents that they say targeted more African-Americans.

The poll shows Moseley Braun coming in second with 22.5 percent, with Emanuel at 44.8 percent.

Though she doesn't want to talk about polls, Moseley Braun said: "We are doing fine. We have a real good shot at this."

Miguel del Valle says Chico is so hungry for endorsements that he's lined himself up conservative thinkers.

"If Mr. Chico thinks lining up with the Tea Party will push him over the top, he has severely miscounted the voters of the City of Chicago," del Valle said.

The Chico campaign rejects del Valle's criticism saying all of the endorsements its received are aimed at building a broad coalition of support.

Many of those who are supporting Chico say that what he needs to do is make sure Moseley Braun draws off some African-American voters from Emanuel, but not too many, so he can stay in second place in case of a run-off.

ABC7 Chicago will broadcast a live debate between the major mayoral candidates from the Oriental Theatre Thursday, February 17 at 7 p.m.

The debate will also be streamed live on