Mayoral candidates court last-minute votes

February 19, 2011 (CHICAGO)

This is the last weekend of campaigning before Tuesday's vote for the city's top elected official.

Emanuel enjoys a wide lead in all the polls, but he must get 50 percent plus one vote to win the election outright.

On Saturday, Gery Chico, Miguel del Valle and Carol Moseley Braun were out courting last minute votes.

If one of them can finish second and pull enough votes from Emanuel, there will be a run-off election on April 5.

Rahm Emanuel headed into the final weekend before the Tuesday mayoral election making sure the vote gets out.

The front-runner had a meet-and-greet with voters at the South Side's popular E & B Restaurant as he pushed for an outright victory.

Some political observers say that is far from guaranteed, especially since Emanuel's three main rivals are working to force a run-off election.

"This city needs a run-off election," said City Clerk Miguel del Valle. "I don't think that given the abbreviated time frame that we had and the distraction that we had with the Emanuel residency issue, I don't think voters have really had a chance to focus on this campaign."

While del Valle met with campaign workers at one of his field offices before canvassing several South Side neighborhoods, the candidate who most polls put in second place, former Chicago Board of Education president Gery Chico, still hopes to win it all.

"We want to win it. We want to win it outright but we'll take a run-off if that's what comes our way," Chico said. "The idea is to give the people of this city true choice."

Returning to a familiar base of support, Carol Moseley Braun visited Rainbow Push Saturday morning, promising if elected, she will be a public servant for all the people.

"I will be a mayor that will include all, exclude none and see to it that the needs of every community, every neighborhood get addressed,' Moseley Braun said.

Lesser known mayoral candidate Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins was out as well.

"The city has been very heavy-handed, pushing down on communities. I think it's time for the communities to push back," she said.

While Van Pelt-Watkins shared her views about the future of the City of Chicago during a community forum, challenger William "Dock" Walls said during the taping of ABC7's "Newsviews" that he was the best candidate for mayor.

"I want to unify this city by promoting cultural and diversity sensitivity amongst people of all ages, races, socio-economic backgrounds, all religious persuasions," he said.

Although Emanuel has been the mayoral front-runner throughout the campaign, some say the strong appeal of his main rivals among particular racial or socio-economic groups cannot be ignored.

Look for all the candidates to continue with their respective last-minute efforts to win support and votes.

ABC7 will have comprehensive election coverage Tuesday night.

We will have live updates and results throughout the evening and expanded coverage on our news at 10 p.m.

You can get continuous results on

For viewers on-the-go, the latest election results are on web-enabled phones and wireless handhelds at

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