Ex Obama aide wins Chicago mayoral vote

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama’s former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel has won the mayoral election in his home town Chicago over five other challengers, topping the 50 percent threshold to avoid a runoff vote.

With almost 75 percent of the vote counted, Emanuel, who quit his White House job last year to contest the election had almost 55 percent of the vote, far outdistancing his rivals, according to CNN projections.

Former Chicago School Board head Gery Chico was in second place with 25 percent, while City Clerk Miguel del Valle had 9 percent and former US Senator Carol Moseley Braun had more than 8 percent. The other two candidates both had less than 2 percent.

While Tuesday’s vote was technically the Democratic primary, there is no Republican contender in the heavily Democratic city, so Emanuel will succeed Richard M. Daley in the top job long associated with the Daley family.

Daley has been mayor since 1989, and his father held the post from 1955-76, making them the two longest-serving mayors in the city’s history.

Emanuel, 51, started his campaign in November as a relative unknown to many in his native city, despite having served three terms as a congressman, being a key aide to President Bill Clinton and Obama’s chief of staff.

He worked hard to introduce himself, assembling a well-organized campaign operation and canvassing the city to deliver a series of high-profile campaign speeches as well as making 357 informal stops to meet voters — 229 at various community locations, such as schools, grocery stories and churches and 110 at subway stations, CNN said.

Emanuel also has hit the airwaves with a series of ads, buoyed by a large war chest, that touted his record and connections with Obama and Clinton while attacking his opponents.

For much of the campaign, Emanuel fought off an accusation that he was not a legal resident of Chicago and therefore could not run.

The accusation stemmed from the renting of his house when he joined Obama’s White House in 2009. Emanuel maintained he never gave up his residency.

After a series of conflicting rulings the state Supreme Court ruled unanimously Emanuel’s name should be on the ballot.

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