Intelligence Report: Emanuel spent $42 per vote

February 23, 2011 4:20:51 PM PST
The final vote turnout figure in Tuesday's mayoral election was 41.9 percent. That's far less than the 50 plus percent figure that election authorities had projected. In this Intelligence Report: How that translates into a very costly price-per-vote for Rahm Emanuel.

We heard it through the campaign and all Tuesday night from Rahm Emanuel critics: He was buying the election. Fact is, you can't win an elective office like the mayor of Chicago without having money, lots of it, and so whoever wins has bought victory because they paid for things like TV and radio commercials and newspaper ads.

And, in Emanuel's case, the cost-per-vote was exceedingly high.

Emanuel spent an estimated $7.7 million on campaign commercials and other advertising alone during the short race for mayor.

At the end of 2010, Emanuel had almost $8.5 million in his campaign account. During the last weeks of the election, just since January 1, Emanuel brought in a cool $1.7 million in contributions, according to newly filed state election records.

Even though Emanuel was the winner, with Tuesday's low turnout, the net number of people who voted for Emanuel drove up the cost-per-vote.

Emanuel received 323,546 votes. The total amount of money he had to spend on the campaign, commercials expenses and all, is estimated to be $13.5 million, according to state records. That means Emanuel spend $42 per vote to become the next Chicago mayor.

Not only is that believed to be one for the record books but so is the low number of votes he received. It is a modern city election record for its petite size.

The last time a Chicago mayor won with fewer votes was 1919, and it was William "Big Bill" Thompson, elected with 260,000 votes. Thompson went on to become Chicago's most corrupt mayor.