Eve of Mayoral Election: Getting Voters to Polls

on Feb25
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2019-02-25 22:03:19

This election eve is a hectic one given it being the largest number of candidates ever running for Chicago mayor. All of the fourteen were busy shaking hands and leaving no stone unturned in their search for votes. 

Lori Lightfoot, who has been surging in the final weeks, perhaps due being endorsed by the Chicago Sun-Times, was at Revival Food Hall in the Loop.

Lightfoot said she is confident that her volunteer operation will get out the vote regardless of the weather Tuesday.

“We have over 600 people city-wide who’ve committed from Saturday to Election Day – that’s over 1,600 hours of volunteer time, and they’re enthusiastic volunteers,” Lightfoot said. “Because this weather isn’t for the faint of heart.”

At her campaign headquarters, Preckwinkle couldn’t stress enough just how confident she was for Tuesday’s election; saying she was “optimistic” eight times during a short press conference.

Preckwinkle sought to downplay the firing of her campaign manager last week. She also dismissed the questions into whether Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke broke ethics rules by throwing her a fundraiser as “political theater.”

“As I go around the city, what people are concerned about is not campaign dynamics, but the issues that face their communities,” Preckwinkle said.

Mendoza was on the Far South Side receiving a last-minute endorsement from the United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers Union Local 551.

Standing before a group of union workers, Mendoza invoked the memory of her father, a member of the pipefitter’s union who died when she was 22 years old.

“You may not believe me but I’ll be walking through the house and I’ll smell the smell of the pipes my dad used to work with as a pipefitter,” Mendoza reminisced. “He used to use this orange goopy stuff to clean his hands and get rid of the smell…but to me, that smell was always a great smell, believe it or not,” she said. “It was the smell of hard work, of pride in your job, of earning a fair dollar for an honest day’s work.”

Bill Daley was busy making sure that his volunteers were well-fed as they were getting out the vote. He stopped by Lincoln Park café The Bourgeois Pig to pick up pastries and later picked up a couple of pizzas from Bar Cargo in River North.

As for Daley’s get out the vote operations, he said, “with technologies today, it’s a lot easier (for volunteers) than in the old days and we’ve taken advantage of that, but yet we still have people who have gone door-to-door throughout this city, and we’re proud of that.” 

Paul Vallas was at the food court in the Thompson Center to make one of his final pitches to voters at lunchtime.

He said that voters just might find it too hard to swallow what he called the “establishment” candidates.

“In 1970, 50 percent of this city was middle class and today, 16 percent are,” Vallas said. “Well that’s certainly reasonable for a Daley or a Chico or anyone who is a part of the establishment – I say that sarcastically.

Gery Chico was out at the early voting site in the 42nd Ward – his home ward. Forecasters are predicting a 40 percent chance of snow on Election Day, which could stifle voter turnout. Chico said that the weather could be advantageous to candidates with robust get-out-the-vote operations, which he says he has.

“Anybody that thinks you’re a sure thing going into this is not thinking right,” Chico said. “Anybody who takes these voters for granted is at severe risk. We’re not. We’re talking with people on ‘L’ trains, coffee shops, businesses, homes all over the place – we’re not leaving any stone unturned.”

Jerry Joyce who has the number one spot on the ballot cast his early vote Monday and is counting on the support of the vote-rich 19th Ward.

“I think that we have momentum, we’re peaking at the right time,” Joyce said. “Our supporters are going to vote and we’ll be in the runoff.”

Willie Wilson has courtside seats at Monday’s Bulls game with opponent Paul Vallas, saying it’s a symbol of their willingness “to still be friends.”   Wilson also attended a rally on the far northwest side expressing confidence in Tuesday’s results.

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