-- Dahleen Glanton
10:09 a.m. A survey of predictions
In the comments area, however, 21 readers offered fairly detailed predictions, and only 7 predicted an outright win for Emanuel. Fourteen are forecasting a runoff.
9:54 a.m. 'First time we feel like we have a choice'
Joy and Chris Donohoe brought their toddler son with them to vote this morning at Coonley Elementary School in the 47th ward. They saw it as a historic moment, a rare time when – because Ald. Eugene Schulter was not running for the first time in more than three decades – there was no incumbent mayor or alderman on their ballot.
"We have been here for 15 years, and it is the first time we feel like we have a choice," Joy Donohoe said. "The power of the incumbent in this city is so strong that it is difficult to overcome. It is not a dig against Mayor Daley. It was always just a foregone conclusion he would win."
Chris Donohoe said there is a lot hanging in the balance with this election.
"The stakes are really high with budget deficits, less revenue, increased takes -- we better get it right this time," he said. "Someone is going to have to make some tough decisions."
In the same ward where Rahm Emanuel announced his candidacy in November, about 10 percent of the registered voters had turned out by 9 am.
"It is about normal so far," said election judge Mike Kirkpatrick.
Kim Hanna, 41, called the election "an exciting time" with so many new names on the ballot.
"The biggest thing for me is all the energy I have seen," she said. "The biggest issue is the status of the current city budget and how to attack the hole in the budget without destroying what we have in the city."
"There is anticipation and sort of anxiety about where the city is going and where this neighborhood goes from here," Hanna said about her North Center neighborhood.
Mary O'Donnell was battling the flurries as she handed out pamphlets in support of her cousin, Tom O'Donnell, for 47th Ward alderman. Her strategy? Rock back and forth to stay warm.
"It's the wind that kills you," she said. "I have been doing this many years. I was hoping I would get a little warmer day."
Sarah Strang was a little wistful as she voted for Rahm Emanuel for mayor.
"I am sad to see Daley go. I don’t want to see someone new come in," said Strang, a North Center resident who brought her 5-year-old son with her to vote.
Although she has lived in Chicago for about 20 years, Strang said it was the first time she can remember voting in a mayoral election.