Del Valle's Choice To Remain In The Race: The Hispanic community in Chicago never got the opportunity to even try to unite behind a consensus candidate. Former School Board pres. Gery Chico has emerged as Emanuel's chief rival in the race, but Chico's poll numbers, fundraising and endorsements have suffered because of City Clerk Miguel del Valle's continued presence in the race. Del Valle has won support among some of the city's Hispanic aldermen and community leaders, as well as some influential progressives. Del Valle's candidacy never generated enough steam to realistically put a second place finish in play, but he has limited Chico's potential considerably. The Residency Challenge Backfires: The failed attempt to throw Emanuel off the ballot accomplished the nearly impossible: It cast Emanuel in the role of victim. Voters watched as Emanuel patiently answered every question, some of which bordered on the absurd, during the public residency hearings. Public consensus seemed to coalesce around the notion that the residency challenge amounted to a desperate political ploy by Emanuel's enemies. Emanuel emerged largely unscathed and added the mantle of sympathetic figure to his status as a front-runner and the ultimate political insider in the eyes of Chicago's voters. Emanuel Stays Above The Fray: Emanuel entered the race with a reputation as one of the most combative personalities in American politics. But his trademark temper has been nowhere to be found on the campaign trail. During the residency hearings as well as the mayoral debates, Emanuel kept his cool while under almost constant attack from his opponents. Chico, Braun and del Valle all tried to provoke the front-runner, but Emanuel resisted going negative, outside of some strongly-worded responses to Chico's criticism of his tax reform proposals. Thus, Emanuel's campaign has avoided potentially costly gaffes and scandals. Instead, Emanuel has let his wide name recognition and hefty war chest, fueled by donations from Wall Street and Hollywood donors, put him in position to potentially end the mayoral race a few months earlier than most assumed possible.
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