CHICAGO

Chicago Mayor's Race Roundup: Pollster Gives Rahm A Big Lead, Meeks 'Regrets' Ranty Sermon

11/16/2010 06:39 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The petitions are in (for the most part) and many of us have already seen a campaign ad or two--the Chicago campaign season is in full swing.

Will we see the midterm-style mud slinging? Not so far. But, this is Chicago...and we still have time.

Ballot Taking Shape

On Monday, candidates in city races lined up to turn in their signatures. While 12,500 valid signatures are needed for a ballot spot, most candidates turned in many more. Rahm Emanuel turned in about 90,000 signatures, and Carol Moseley Braun topped him with about 93,000. As of Monday evening, the Chicago Board of Elections had received petitions from the following candidates:

CAROL MOSELEY BRAUN
DANNY K. DAVIS
GERY J. CHICO
M. TRICIA LEE
MIGUEL DEL VALLE
RAHM EMANUEL
WILFREDO DE JESUS

The list could grow, however. Candidates have until November 22 to turn in their signatures. Oh, and if you don't know who M. Tricia Lee is, you can get to know her in this interesting campaign video:

LaHood (And Pollster): Things Look Good For Emanuel

After Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart announced that he would not be running for mayor, many said 'Why even hold an election, Rahm is going to win!" These sentiments continued when the Chicago Coalition for Mayor, a group of African American leaders, chose Rep. Danny Davis as their "consensus candidate"--after Moseley Braun and Sen. James Meeks already decided to run. With the African American vote split between three well-known black leaders, the Emanuel predictions continued, and it looks like U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is willing to place some bets.

When asked if the future mayor of Chicago would support O'Hare expansion, LaHood--standing in front of Mayor Daley--seemed to have his mind made up:

"Well, if it's who I think it's gonna be, I don't think we'll have to deliver any messages," LaHood said. "I think he gets it when it comes to economic development and the fact that this airport is what we said it is: it's an economic engine. It produces jobs."

He may be right. The Chicago Teamsters Union commissioned a poll of likely Chicago voters Nov. 8 through 14, and found Emanuel with quite the lead. From the pollsters:

. . . Rahm Emanuel holds a clear lead over the field of likely mayoral candidates. Emanuel leads primary and run-off scenarios by more than twenty points, and leads across racial and geographic lines. Emanuel is well known, but so are his nearest competitors (Davis / Mosley Braun) - indicating Emanuel's lead is not purely a function of high name recognition.

Chicago voters are aware of the residency issues raised in the campaign, but clearly believe Emanuel meets the necessary requirements. Voters also reject criticisms that Emanuel abandoned the President or does not have the appropriate temperament to be a successful mayor.

Rahm Emanuel holds a 22-point lead over his nearest rival, and leads across racial and geographic lines.

The pollsters go on to explain that Emanuel leads among whites, African-Americans, and Hispanics "in every one of the city's seven congressional districts."

Meeks Is Sorry (Sort Of)

In 2006, state Sen. James Meeks made national news for his use of the N-word to describe African Americans who support Mayor Daley. He also referred to Mayor Daley as a "slave master." He defended his use of the word after the fact, but backed down to Carol Marin on "Chicago Tonight" Monday.

When asked if he regretted using the N-word and calling Daley a "slave master," Meeks told Marin he was just fired up about the topic of education. (Hat Tip: Capitol Fax Blog)

"I am passionate about that issue of education," Meeks said. "Sure, I regret [using those words.] But I don't regret being passionate about the subject of education."

Meeks has also been vocally anti-gay in the past, but has been working to repair his relationship with Chicago's LGBT community.

WATCH Meeks discuss his controversial sermon and LGBT issues with Marin here:

WATCH the controversial sermon here:

If you have any juicy gossip about the race, or a story you think we should see, send us an email at chicago@huffingtonpost.com.

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