Rahm Emanuel Opponent Picks Up Big Union Endorsement in Chicago Mayor Election

Terrence Antonio James via AP
Terrence Antonio James via AP
Chicago, IL

As the runoff election for Chicago mayor nears, the various factions in the city are lining up behind their candidate. This weekend, challenger Jesus “Chuy” Garcia picked up a big union endorsement.

Garcia picked up the endorsement of a large segment of the powerful Service Employees International Union (SEIU), as the organization’s State Council officially endorsed the insurgent candidate.

Rahm Emanuel received just over 48 percent of the vote in last month’s election. But the mayor and former Obama Chief of Staff didn’t reach that required 50 percent plus to win reelection outright, and a runoff was scheduled for April 7.

In contrast, Garcia only garnered 28 percent of the vote in the 5-way race held last month. But immediately after the election, Garcia closed to within single digits of Emanuel, casting the mayor’s re-election into doubt.

However, in the most recent polling, Emanuel opened up a bit more of a lead. A new poll by the Chicago Tribune found that Emanuel is now leading 51 to 37 percent.

But if endorsements are of any importance, Garcia has been picking up quite a few of them.

While it was a big announcement that the SEIU council came out for Garcia, it was far from unanimous. SEIU Local 73 had urged the council to stay neutral in the election and ended up endorsing Emanuel.

Still, Garcia also picked up the nod from Operation Push chief Jesse Jackson and a large contingent of the city’s black ministers.

Garcia has also picked up the endorsement of 22nd Ward Alderman Rick Munoz.

The case of Munoz, though, is of interest in that he is the only member of the city’s Latino caucus who is supporting fellow Hispanic Chuy Garcia. The rest of the Latino Aldermen are supporting Emanuel, this despite that Hispanic voters turned out for Garcia.

In the end, it appears that the black vote will be the key for whomever wins the upcoming runoff. If Garcia can pick off enough of the disgruntled African American vote, Emanuel could conceivably lose this election.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at igcolonel@hotmail.com