Emanuel, Garcia rally last-minute support on Election Day

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia will see who earned Chicago's vote in the first mayoral runoff election in city history. Both candidates spent the day getting out the vote.

The polls opened at 6 a.m. in the city and most closed at 7 p.m. Several precincts experienced late openings, so they will remain open until 8 p.m.

CLICK HERE to get the latest Election Results from ABC7 Eyewitness News after the polls close at 7 PM.

EMANUEL'S PAID TROOPS HIT STREETS

As a Jewish shofar blared, election workers lined up for campaign button and marching orders at Rahm Emanuel's 4th Ward headquarters. When the mayor arrived for the campaign event, he was greeted with programmed applause before beginning his Election Day pep talk.

"Just when you think you've made your last phone call, you've got 10 more to go. Just when you think you've knocked on the last door, you cross that street and knock on 10 more doors," Emanuel said.

Most of the doorknockers at this headquarters will be paid for getting out the mayor's vote. Some have worked for the past two weeks.

"These last two weeks I've been walking around for Emanuel Rahm. You know, I've been going door-to-door knocking on doors, making sure everyone's voting," said Davon Harris, an Emanuel campaign worker. "They pay me every day. (How much?) About $50, $50 to $60. (How many hours you working today?) About five."

But Emanuel campaign worker Clarence Deisch says it is not about the money.

"It's vital that Rahm gets in. I think he's the best man for the job," Deisch said.

Paid poll workers supporting the mayor and his endorsed aldermanic candidates also worked polling places on the North Side. On the Southwest Side, an inflatable Uncle Sam for Rahm stood in the front yard of an address where a polling place was located nearby.

Meanwhile the candidate himself could barely sit down for lunch after a frenzied round of handshaking at Manny's Deli in the South Loop. Despite those polls suggesting he has big lead in the race, he wants his supporters to work as if it's a dead heat.

"They have to give it all they have in the next 24 hours because there's no looking back after that," Emanuel said.

Emanuel will be at Plumbers Hall at 1340 W. Washington on election night.

GARCIA VOLUNTEERS GO DOOR-TO-DOOR

There is not a challenger who has been able to get a strong citywide vote-getting apparatus, but Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia believes they have done that and are banking on it to work.

On Tuesday, volunteers visited the homes of voters believed to be Garcia supporters. They go door-to-door, asking if residents have voted yet and if they need a ride to the polls. They don't hard sell their candidate, but their allegiance is clear. The Garcia campaign has 70 workers campaigning here in the 8th Ward on the South Side, and an estimated 5,000 citywide - a formidable number.

"If we can deliver someone to the polls at 6:50, that's what we will do. It is all about making sure people understand that their vote is important," said Tara Baldridge, a Garcia supporter.

"We're working hard to get the vote out," Garcia said.

Garcia says he has a cramp from the handshakes, but it is a feel-good cramp because there are lots of hands at CTA stops and restaurants. As people come home from work, Garcia volunteers are reminding them to vote.

"Today is April 7 and it's finally here, and tonight the voters have their say," Garcia said.

Garcia's campaign has benefited from an influx of cash in the last few weeks and has always had measurable enthusiasm. It's just a question of whether those things, along with their ground game, translate into votes.

Garcia will be at the UIC Forum at 725 W. Roosevelt on election night.

The ABC7 Eyewitness News team will have complete election coverage Tuesday when the polls close at 7 p.m. with Eyewitness News on "The U", plus live updates throughout the night on ABC7, ABC7Chicago.com, Facebook, Twitter and ABC7 Chicago's news apps. You can also get a complete recap on Eyewitness News at 10 p.m.
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