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David Axelrod’s mayoral-race forecast: ‘Nothing would be totally surprising’

David Axelrod talks with Sun-Times reporter Fran Spielman Friday, February 15, 2019. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

David Axelrod | Rich Hein/Sun-Times file photo

The envelope, please!

Let’s play … who?

Last September, David Axelrod, the stellar political strategist with 150 national campaigns under his belt, told Sneed he was sitting out this mayoral campaign.

“Sneed, I’m watching this one as an observer this time,” said Axelrod, who is this/close to Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

“But I think this mayoral race is the least predictable mayoral race in the history of Chicago,” he said. “Certainly in my memory.”

Back then, Axelrod didn’t want to be “put in a position of handicapping candidates,” but he did promise to give Sneed  “two names … predictions … in a sealed envelope the day before or after the primary, and we’ll see how close I came.”

But just in case the “envelope” gets lost in the mail, Axelrod now tells Sneed:

“Anyone who says they know for sure what is going to happen is a fool or a liar!

“The differences between the top rung of candidates — Preckwinkle, Daley, Chico, Wilson, Mendoza, Lightfoot are marginal enough that nothing would be totally surprising,” he said.

∞The stunner: Axelrod now claims if you break down the early vote “you see HEIGHTENED numbers in primarily white wards, FALLING numbers in primarily African-American wards and FLAT in Hispanic wards.”

∞The buckshot: “Despite the increased early voting — something that has been true in just about every election since early voting was introduced — there are FEWER other signs of intense voter interest,” he said.

∞The upshot: According to Axelrod, who served with Bill Daley in the Obama White House, “All of this suggests a modest turnout and an older and perhaps, whiter electorate — which, in theory, should help Daley sneak into the runoff.

“He (Daley) has a familiar name, which has cache with older voters and has by far the best funded campaign and the most robust TV.

∞The kicker: “But the ONE caveat on Daley is that he’s also taking heavy negative fire in TV ads.

“We’ll see what effect they have,” he said.

∞Finally, Axelrod claims Preckwinkle started out with the broadest base “but lost altitude after the Burke scandal broke … but still is formidable and has the support of some powerhouse, active unions.”

∞Final shot? “While I wouldn’t place bets on this race, you’d have to say Preckwinkle and Daley are marginally in a better position to make the run-off,” he added.

Stay tuned … and we’ll see if the envelope gets mailed.

 

The Vallas file …

Mayoral candidate Paul Vallas claims the results of a text message poll of 8,700 “very likely voters” in Chicago shows him in the lead.

Hmmm.

∞Fact 1: Conducted by L2T Research & Survey, the poll — conducted on Feb. 21 — only included Vallas and the three candidates who have “raised and spent the highest amount of money this far: Bill Daley, Toni Preckwinkle, Susana Mendoza,” said a Vallas spokesman.

∞Fact 2: The poll showed Vallas garnering 10.75 percent; Daley 10.16 percent; Preckwinkle 8.63 percent; and Mendoza got 6.29 percent.

∞The kicker: Out of 8,700 people canvassed via texting, 5,585 were UNDECIDED, which amounted to 64.17 percent.

Trump ’em …

 

It’s a fish story that’s meaty.

Sneed is told a bearded Donald Trump Jr. was in Milwaukee late last week ice fishing.

An avid sportsman, Trump Instagrammed his 16-pound brown trout catch — along with two buddies.

∞The hook: “Good times on the ice in Wisconsin this weekend with some good friends,” texted Trump. “Psyched to have caught my personal best brown trout which we released unharmed. Lost another after 30 minutes that made this one look small …” Trump posted the missive with a tear.

∞The fork: Then Trump headed into Milwaukee’s Five O’Clock Steakhouse, where he and his pals ate 14 oz. Bone In Filet steaks. “He was dressed as an outdoorsman and was gracious with photograph requests,” said a source.

 

Sneedlings …

Congratulations to Kevin Carroll and Mia Cameli on their engagement this weekend. Tom and Carol Carroll are over the moon … ditto to Gina Stefani and Luka Ilic on their wedding this weekend at Queen of All Saints Basilica on Sauganash. Proud papa Phil and wife Karen are over also over the moon … and the sun and the stars.