People Power Just Dealt a Major Blow to Mayor 1%

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, dubbed Mayor 1 Percent, was forced into a runoff Tuesday after failing to achieve more than 50 percent of the vote in his bid for re-election.

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Despite what the Chicago Tribune described as “his multimillion-dollar campaign war chest,” Emanuel got 45 percent of the vote, pitting him in the April 7 runoff against Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, who came in second with 33 percent of the vote. Emanuel outspent Chicago Teachers Union-backed Garcia 12-to-1.

The “election numbers reveal one clear result: Chicago’s voters shunned Mayor Emanuel and soundly rejected his corporate agenda that benefits the richest 1%,” stated April Verrett, Executive Vice-President of SEIU Healthcare Illinois.

“They wrote us off, said we didn’t have a chance, said we didn’t have any money while they spent millions attacking us,” Garcia, who’s been described as a progressive champion, said Tuesday night. “Well, we’re still standing. We’re still running.  And we’re going to win. Today we the people have spoken, not the people with the money and the power and the connections, not the giant corporations, the big money special interests, the hedge funds and Hollywood celebrities who’ve poured tens of millions into the Mayor’s campaign.”

Louise Cainkar, who lives in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood, agrees.

Cainkar told Common Dreams the election results mean “the regular people of Chicago are speaking and saying they want a mayor who works for their interests,” and Garcia “laid out an effective beginning of a strategy for doing so.” She described Garcia as “a person of great integrity” and said it was because of that he “was able to mobilize support in a short period of time with little resources.”

And then there’s Emanuel’s track record.