As polls across the country show a tightening race, Democratic Presidential Candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will be back in Chicago Monday. National polls showed Vermont Sen. Sanders gaining momentum in his chase of former Secretary of State Clinton in her native Illinois.
Last week, a Chicago Tribune poll showed Clinton with a more than 2 to 1 lead over Sanders. But Sunday, CBS released a poll that had Sanders up 2 points over Clinton, while NBC reported the two were within a few points of one another. Adding to that mixed bag, local pollsters Ogden and Fry found Clinton up 32 points over Sanders.
Amidst that backdrop, both campaigns planned to hold events just before the Illinois primary. Clinton will be back in Chicago Monday morning, speaking at Plumber’s Hall downtown. Sanders will lead a late-night rally at Roosevelt University after speaking Monday in Ohio, North Carolina and Missouri.
Former President Bill Clinton spent time this weekend stumping all over Illinois on his wife’s behalf. Saturday he dropped by a union hall in Peoria, and Sunday, he spoke from the pulpit of two churches: Rock of Ages Baptist Church in west suburban Maywood and St. Luke’s Baptist Church in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood.
He focused much of his speech around a theme of unity, calling on congregants to vote for his wife because she was a “change-maker” who would find ways to bring Americans together.
“This is an election about responsibility over resentment. About possibility over protest,” Clinton said, with a voice hoarse from campaigning. “We have to decide whether we want to vent our anger or come out with answers.”
Clinton told both African American congregations that his wife would increase access to healthcare, release non-violent prisoners and reform policing.
“You shouldn’t have to go through, again, what this community went through, when everybody’s waiting for a video. There’s a simple answer to that, a lot of cities do it. When the video’s taken, you don’t leave it with the police department. You put it in a neutral place where anybody can get it when they need it.”
Also this weekend, Sanders released ads in Illinois that criticize Clinton for supporting Mayor Rahm Emanuel. It was a theme he pushed all weekend, both at an early morning press conference Saturday, and his rally Friday night, where the mention of Emanuel’s name inspired loud boos from the audience.
Early voting continues Monday, while primary day voting begins Tuesday morning.
Lauren Chooljian covers city politics for WBEZ. Follow her @laurenchooljian.