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Latino Daily News

Sunday February 20, 2011

Will There Be a Run-Off in Chicago’s Mayoral Race? The Answer is Up to Hispanics

Will There Be a Run-Off in Chicago’s Mayoral Race? The Answer is Up to Hispanics

Photo: Chicago Mayoral Candidates, Braun, Chico, Emanuel

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With the Mayoral Election in Chicago this Tuesday, the number one question is –Will Rahm Win or be forced into a Runoff? The answer is up to Chicago’s growing Hispanic Vote.

To become mayor of the nations third largest city and avoid an April run-off, Emanuel needs to gain more than 50% of the vote on Tuesday. He had 49% in the last Tribune Poll, while his closest competitor, Gery Chico had 19%.

But Chico had a small advantage among Hispanics—at 38 percent to Emanuel’s 34 percent, with Chico’s Hispanic numbers up 12 percent from the previous Tribune poll. Chico is of Mexican and Greek-Lithuanian descent. Another contender, Puerto Rico-born city clerk Miguel del Valle, was at 8 percent of all voters and 18 percent of Latinos.

“The Hispanic candidates are attracting Hispanic voters—Rahm is doing less well there than in the white or black communities,” said Dick Simpson, head of the political science department at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a former Chicago alderman.

Some Latinos view Emanuel negatively because they believe he put immigration reform on the backburner while he was with President Barack Obama’s chief aide, Simpson said.

While Chicago’s population has dropped in the last 10 years, the number of Hispanics has grown by 3.3 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In the country as a whole, the Hispanic population has doubled over the last 20 years to 45 million, according to the Census Bureau.

But Chico could force a run-off, Simpson said. Chico spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said that while Chico is fighting for supporters in every community, some Hispanics may be energized at the “possibility of making history” with the first Hispanic mayor, which may bring them out the Hispanic vote in record numbers.