Poll: Rahm Emanuel Leads Crowded Chicago Mayor Race

Kris Alingod – AHN News Contributor

Chicago, IL, United States (AHN) – Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel leads rivals in the race for Chicago mayor by double-digits, according to a new poll released Wednesday, the same day objections were filed challenging Emanuel’s residency in the city.

The latest We Ask America poll has Emanuel with 39 percent support, followed by former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun at 12 percent, and former City Colleges Board chair Gery Chico at 9 percent.

Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL), city clerk Miguel del Valle and state Sen. James Meeks all have less than 8 percent support. All others in the crowded field of 20 contenders received less than 2 percent. Nineteen percent of voters were undecided.

The survey, commissioned by the Chicago Retail Merchants Association, also included U.S. Sen. Roland Burris, who ends his term as an appointee to the old seat of President Barack Obama next Monday.

Supporters of Burris filed petitions early this week to put him on the ballot. The senator, who is the lone African-American in the U.S. senate and one of four in the mayoral race, had 2 percent support in the survey.

Emanuel’s front-runner status was not unexpected, especially with the withdrawal of Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart last month. But he faces several objections before the city board of elections to his residency.

The 50-year-old spent nearly the last two years at the White House as the president’s top aide. His qualification as a candidate is under question since municipal election law has a one-year residency requirement.

Emanuel’s campaign has argued that he is a registered voter in the city who voted absentee early this year and who simply rented out his home during his time in Washington. The tenant at the home, Rob Halpin, has refused to leave before the end of the lease and entered the mayoral race this week.

Emanuel, whose aggressive style as chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was key to his party’s success in the 2006 mid-terms, is seeking to succeed retiring Mayor Richard Daley.

The election will be held in February. A runoff is scheduled for April if no candidate receives at least half of all votes.

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