To become mayor of the nation’s third largest city and avoid an April run-off, are not easy issues. Emanuel needs to win more than 50% of the vote next week. He was already at 49% in the latest Chicago Tribune/WGN poll. His closest competitor, former Chicago schools president Gery Chico, was at 19% in the poll. Nevertheless, Chico, who is of Mexican and Greek-Lithuanian descent, had a small advantage among Hispanics. Another contender, Puerto Rico-born city clerk Miguel del Valle, was at 8% of all voters and 18% of Latinos.
In fact, the Hispanic candidates are attracting Hispanic voters. Meanwhile, as elsewhere in the country, Hispanics are a growing force in Chicago. They represent almost a third of the city’s population, although only about 15% of voters.
Emanuel is viewed negatively by some Latinos because they believe that he put immigration reform on the backburner while he was with President Barack Obama’s chief aide. That makes things more difficult, assuming that this city has been friendly with immigrants. On the other hand, the biggest issues in this mayoral race are jobs, crime, the economy and education. That explains that fact that Hispanic voters do not vote any more just by ethnicity. The unique story about this election is that voters are not going to allow themselves to be put into a race box!