Chico Predicts A Runoff, Rahm Returns Jimmy John’s Donations

With an election just around the corner, the candidates will not be taking much time off this weekend. Campaign schedules are looking packed for Saturday, and for good reason. The latest polls show Rahm Emanuel with about 50 percent of the vote, and the other candidates are doing everything they can to make a runoff happen.

Stay tuned to HuffPost Chicago from now until February 22 for “The Countdown,” a daily roundup of election news, gossip and other fun tidbits. You can also sign up to receive “The Countdown” via email daily by checking the “Chicago Brief” box here.

CHICO PREDICTS A RUNOFF

Gery Chico was feeling pretty confident Friday, despite his reported 104 degree fever. “There will be a runoff,” Chico said during a stop at Moe’s Cantina in Wrigleyville, according to NBC Chicago. “We’ve got April 5 circled on our calendar. There is no half way in this race.”

Chico was discussing his plan to issue same-day permits to businesses in the city, which would be very different from the red tape current business owners face.

WATCH Chico’s comments here:

View more videos at: http://www.nbcchicago.com.

JIMMY JOHN’S FOR RAHM?

Greg Hinz of Crain’s Chicago Business noticed some strange donations to Rahm Emanuel’s campaign, causing the funds to be returned. Hinz reports that 10 people connected to the Jimmy John’s restaurant chain each gave $5,000 to Emanuel’s campaign on Feb. 9. After Hinz asked whether $50,000 violates the state’s new laws on political giving, Emanuel’s campaign said the funds were being returned “out of an abundance of caution and to avoid even the suggestion of impropriety.”

The stranger thing, as Hinz points out, is Jimmy John’s history. The sandwich chain’s founder, Jimmy John Liautaud, was a vocal opponent of the state’s income tax hike. He has since moved his family to Florida and plans to take Jimmy John’s HQ with him to avoid the extra taxes. Liautaud traditionally donates to Republicans, Hinz reports.

Jimmy John’s issued a statement saying that several employees donated to Emanuel and had no intention of violating any donation laws. No word on whether Liautaud himself was behind any of the donations.


MANY PROBLEMS, LITTLE CLOUT

The Chicago News Cooperative’s Mick Dumke reports on the many troubles facing Chicago’s 15th Ward, and the aldermanic candidates who say they will be able fix them.

RHYMEFEST’S QUEST

Rapper Rhymefest continues his campaign in the 20th ward, and is seeing a lot more support. He even picked up an endorsement from the Chicago Teacher’s Union.

EARLY VOTING TURNOUT

According to the Chicago Elections Board, an unofficial total of 73,251 Chicagoans voted early in this election. That is about 10,000 votes less than the 2008 Presidential Primary and November midterms, but three times more than the 2007 mayoral election.

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