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GOP Race Still Unsettled; Democratic Nominee Daley Vacations

March 2, 1989

CHICAGO (AP) _ A primary victory in his pocket, Democratic mayoral nominee Richard M. Daley has taken a Florida vacation as one foe hit the streets for the April 4 election and another wondered if he’d make the ballot.

Daley sought comfort in the sand, leaving behind a tumultuous scene, especially with the Republican primary winner still undetermined, and Jesse Jackson and his former presidential campaign manager - national Democratic Party chief Ron Brown - backing different candidates in the general election.

″Depending on how things shape up in the coming weeks,″ said Tom Roesser, a veteran political observer active in Republican and civic circles, ″there could be a lot of blood on the floor - not to mention political futures - by the time this thing is over.″

For openers, the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners planned to announce late today the winner of Tuesday’s Republican primary: Edward Vrdolyak, who launched a last-minute write-in campaign, or Herbert Sohn, the party’s endorsed candidate.

The GOP winner advances to next month’s contest against Daley, son of the legendary boss of Chicago politics, and Alderman Timothy Evans, a black who is mounting a third-party bid.

Jackson, who supported Mayor Eugene Sawyer in the primary, has shifted his allegiance to Evans. Daley, however, received a pledge of support Wednesday from Brown, although it was not known whether the chairman, who like Jackson and Sawyer is black, would actively campaign for Daley.

Daley headed south after two morning campaign stops, surpising sleepy-eyed commuters by showing up at a downtown train platform to shake hands just hours after vanquishing Sawyer, then squeezing into the front booth of a nearby deli for breakfast.

Daley, whose victory made Chicago the first among the largest U.S. cities to have a black incumbent mayor defeated by a white challenger, appeared confident of getting a second victory next month.

He shrugged off predictions that Vrdolyak, who also is white, would draw off many of the ethnic votes that form the core constituencies of both men and said he planned to ask Sawyer for his endorsement.

He may have to do some arm-twisting. Sawyer suggested he would not back Daley or Evans, who is accused by many Sawyer admirers of keeping blacks at home Tuesday and sabotaging the primary.

″My general sense is that I will not endorse anyone,″ Sawyer said. ″I am thinking it through and I’ve got a lot of people to talk to before I decide.″

Evans began his day shaking hands at a train station, then stopped at restaurants in the Hispanic and white wards where Daley rolled up impressive vote totals in the primary.

Evans resumed his earlier criticism of the ″Daley machine,″ suggesting the younger Daley’s election would shut minorities out of city government and revive a closely controlled political and patronage system his father used to govern during six terms as mayor.

He campaigned in Daley’s home ward Wednesday, a predominantly white neighborhood called Bridgeport, and declared: ″Tim Evans came and discovered people who are already committed to a progressive vision right in the belly of the beast.″

Evans said he would seek Sawyer’s endorsement in a bid to reunite the coalition of voters who made the late Harold Washington the city’s first black mayor in 1983, and four years later, the first mayor to win re-election since the elder Daley.

″The war was fought hard and fought gallantly,″ he said of Sawyer’s supporters. ″We offer them an opportunity to fight again, but successfully.″

A fight was virtually guaranteed on the Republican side as well.

With 98 percent of the 2,911 precincts reporting, unofficial returns showed Vrdolyak with 10,711 votes, or 45 percent, to 10,234 votes, or 43 percent for Sohn. Two other candidates each had 5 percent.

Both have indicated they may seek a recount.

″I’ve got a feeling this thing is far from over,″ said Tom Leach, Election Board spokesman.

Update hourly