Democrat Richard M. Daley, the favorite by a wide margin in Tuesday's racially divisive mayoral race, said he set aside time on Election Day to visit his father's grave to "put everything in perspective."
Daley - the son of the legendary Mayor Richard J. Daley - said his father warned him when he first decided to go into politics: " `I don't want you to come crying to me when things aren't going well.' "If the latest polls are correct, Daley won't be shedding tears when he, his mother and his wife make their annual Election Day trek to his father's graveside.
A poll released Sunday by the Southtown Economist and WBBM-TV, showed Daley leading black Alderman Timothy Evans, a Democrat running as an independent, 51 percent to 35 percent in the race to finish the unexpired term of the late Mayor Harold Washington. The poll gave Democrat-turned-Republican Edward Vrdolyak just 3 percent of the 926 voters surveyed last week.
Daley's biggest battle throughout the campaign has been against voter complacency among his supporters. And he renewed his battle cry Monday, despite projections from the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners that 70 percent of the city's nearly 1.6 million voters would cast ballots.
"It's a problem when these polls come out and they tell you you are so far ahead," Daley said. "I just have a feeling out there that this can be a close election and (want) to tell the people that I need their votes and not to be so complacent."
Daley, who is white, has led a gentle campaign by Chicago standards and repeatedly refused to participate in the mudslinging and racial barbs that have been hurled his way since his landslide victory in the Feb. 28 Democratic primary.
Daley, the Cook County state's attorney, shrugged off repeated efforts by Evans supporters to label him a racist and laughed when Vrdolyak accused him riding into office on his father's coattails.