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The Countdown: Ladies Love The Rahm; Why You Should Vote

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One week from today, we will be anxiously awaiting poll results. Until then, it's crunch time. As candidates deal with packed schedules and voters weigh their options, the media analyzes Rahm Emanuel's female support and makes the case for voting.

Stay tuned to HuffPost Chicago from now until February 22 for "The Countdown," a daily roundup of election news, gossip and other fun tidbits. You can also sign up to receive "The Countdown" via email daily by checking the "Chicago Brief" box here.

LADIES LOVE RAHM

Whet Moser of Chicago Magazine noticed an interesting trend in recent polls: Rahm Emanuel has some major support from female voters. According to a poll by the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, 67 percent of women supported Emanuel. Only 59 percent of men said he had their vote. The same poll showed second place candidate Gery Chico polling at 15 percent among women.

"...while I could easily speculate on reasons a lot of demographic groups would find Rahm Emanuel more or less appealing, I honestly have no idea why he might have a considerable advantage over Gery Chico with women," Moser wrote.

Simple answer, Whet: ladies love a man who can dance.

DEL VALLE HITS THE AIRWAVES

While Rahm basks in the love, the race has become essentially two-fold for his opponents: first, keep Rahm from breaking 50 percent, thereby forcing a runoff between the top two candidates; then, get in second place.

The candidate who's amassed the most fundraising dollars after Rahm is also the one who's consistently polled second: Gery Chico. His opponent, fellow Latino Miguel del Valle, has shown signs of life recently, but has struggled to raise the cash to get his message heard.

Like we said, though, it is crunch time now, and with that in mind, his campaign announced that he's making a relatively sizable ad buy today. The spot, "It's Time," features the city clerk speaking directly to the camera about his plans to reform the city:

The commercial will air on Channels 2, 5, and 7 during the 10:00 news tonight, the campaign says.

WHY YOU SHOULD VOTE

Though polls show Rahm Emanuel with a serious advantage in the mayoral race, NBC Chicago's Ward Room says that should not stop anyone from voting. They say the "my vote won't count" excuse is "rubbish." We agree.

From Ward Room:

... in a race where a few hundred ballots could be the difference between a runoff (translation: six more weeks of campaigning, plus more face time for two sole candidates) and a landslide, every vote certainly counts.

To recap: If Emanuel wins 51 percent of Chicago's vote, it's over. He scored the job and will take Mayor Daley's long-sat seat. If voters push back on that 51 percent, Chico or Braun, who have moved the poll needle enough to take second and third place so far, will force a runoff.
This could be a close one, folks.

They failed to discuss the aforementioned del Valle, who has seen swelling support among young voters. Wicker Park and Logan Square are filled with del Valle signs -- maybe Ald. Ed Bus was right about the "hipster vote."

In any case, this race IS huge. The city finally has a chance to change things -- it's the first open-seat mayoral election since 1947, giving Chicagoans a valuable moment to control our fate. Not doing so, well, it's just plain lazy.

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