President Barack Obama and Air Force One touched down at O’Hare Airport at 6:54 p.m. Chicago time last evening and was greeted by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the former White House chief of staff. The reason for the visit was to help Senator Dick Durbin, and especially Governor Pat Quinn “Get out the Vote” ahead of today’s early voting start in Illinois. This is an all-out effort by Democrats to get voters to the polls, as Obama told an estimated 6,200 gathered at the Emil and Patricia Jones Convocation Center on the campus of Chicago State University, reported the Chicago Tribune. The center is named after the former Illinois Senate president and his late wife, a man Obama himself called his political mentor and godfather.
Earlier, Governor Pat Quinn told the crowd, “We’re in the fight of our lives for the soul of our democracy. We are the government of the many, and we are taking on those who think government is of the money. They may have more money, but we have President Obama.” Obama followed Quinn and told the packed house, “Pat Quinn first took office nine days after I did. He took on the tough challenges. He made the tough calls.”
“Fired up, ready to vote!” was the theme of the evening, reminiscent of the earlier campaigns of Barack Obama running first for U.S. Senate, and twice for the presidency.
In addition to Obama, former President Bill Clinton is scheduled to campaign for Quinn on Tuesday that focuses on Quinn’s accomplishments with the economy, highlighting the success of Wheatland Tube, located near Western Boulevard and 45th Street in Chicago.
Earlier this month, Quinn got some help from First Lady Michelle Obama, who hosted a GOTV rally at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Former Secretary of State and potential 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was also in town recently, the Chicago Tribune reports that she “sprung for Quinn’s hot chocolate during a stop at a Loop Starbucks.”
The two-week early voting period, which traditionally ends the Saturday before the Tuesday election, will this year continue through Sunday, Nov. 2 at some voting locations.
In the city of Chicago, five early voting locations will be open later during the second week, until 7 p.m. from Oct. 27-31. The later hours will be in effect at 42 suburban locations, plus the Cook County clerk’s Loop location. Early voting locations across the city and suburbs will be open until 5 p.m. on other dates in the run-up to the election.