THE LOOP — The mayor opened the 2015 election process Monday the way he hopes he doesn't finish it — in a two-man runoff.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel filed his re-election petitions at the opening of the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners Monday on the first day of filing for the 2015 municipal election in February, but Chicago Police officer Frederick Collins was right there with him to challenge for the city's top elected office.
Although Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd) and Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia (D-Chicago) have both said they're running against Emanuel, neither filed petitions at the start Monday. Only Fenton Patterson, who filed to run four years ago only to have his petitions challenged and thrown out by the election board, filed to enter the race later Monday morning.
That means Emanuel and Collins will go into a lottery to see who gets the top spot on the mayoral ballot — that is, if both find their petitions sustained by the board of elections.
Steve Mayberry, Emanuel's political spokesman, declined to say whether the mayor intends to challenge Collins' petitions — a rough-and-tumble game of pre-election politics that even Emanuel had to survive four years ago when his residency was challenged as he returned to the city after serving as chief of staff to President Barack Obama.
Instead, Mayberry issued a statement saying: "Today, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's campaign filed tens of thousands of nominating signatures supporting his candidacy for mayor in the 2015 Chicago municipal election. Signatures were gathered from registered voters in each of the city's 50 wards and include residents who support the mayor's efforts on behalf of all Chicagoans over the past three-and-a-half years — from the investments he's made in city infrastructure, to his focus on expanding pre-[kindergarten] and extending the school day, to his effort to increase the minimum wage."
Collins could not be reached for comment.
The board of elections is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and candidates have until the office closes Monday, Nov. 24, to file.
Those in line at 9 a.m. were to either claim the top spot or enter a lottery for it if someone else seeking the same office was in line as well.
The board posted a list of filed candidates on its website.
The election is Feb. 24. Yet, in races where no candidate gets 50 percent of the vote, a runoff is set for April 7.
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