Chicago Elections 2011: City Votes For New Mayor, Aldermen

02/21/2011 01:38 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • The Huffington Post/AP

CHICAGO -- Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel was elected mayor of Chicago on Tuesday, easily overwhelming five rivals to take the helm of the nation's third-largest city as it prepares to chart a new course without the retiring Richard M. Daley.

With 86 percent of the precincts reporting, Emanuel was trouncing five opponents with 55 percent of the vote to avoid an April runoff. Emanuel needed more than 50 percent of the vote to win.

The other major candidates - former Chicago schools president Gery Chico, former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun and City Clerk Miguel del Valle - had hoped to force a runoff but were no match for Emanuel.

It was the city's first mayoral race in more than 60 years without an incumbent on the ballot and the first in more than two decades without Daley among the candidates.

Daley and his father have led Chicago for more than 43 out of the last 56 years.

Chico had 24 percent of the vote compared to 9 percent for both del Valle and Braun. Two other lesser-known candidates each got about 1 percent.

Emanuel's win caps a campaign that included an unsuccessful legal challenge to try to keep him off the ballot.

HuffPost Chicago will be live blogging about the Chicago elections now until the results come in Tuesday night. Stay tuned.

02/23/2011 10:52 AM EST

Rahm's Challenges

So, we have a new mayor--but we also have a lot of problems.

"Not since the Great Depression have the finances of the city been this precarious," said Dominic Pacyga, a historian and author of "Chicago: A Biography." The city's next budget deficit could again exceed $500 million, mostly the result of reduced tax revenue from the recession, and could reach $1 billion if the city properly funds its pension system.

Emanuel, who takes office May 16, also faces a fractious political landscape.

He'll have to find new leadership for the struggling public school system, as two top interim executives plan to leave. He'll also need a new police chief, having said he would not renew Police Superintendent Jody Weis' contract. The department is suffering from low morale and staffing estimated at 1,000 officers below previous levels.

Read more about Rahm's challenges here.

02/23/2011 2:03 AM EST

Rahm Emanuel's Task: The Reinvention of the Great American City

James Warren:

As Rahm Emanuel basked in election night glory late Tuesday, the mayor-elect of Chicago didn't need to reprise Robert Redford's deer-in-the-headlights line in "The Candidate," when he turns to his strategist upon winning a U.S. Senate seat and asks, "What do we do now?"

Read more here.

02/23/2011 12:00 AM EST

Aldermanic Round-Up: Fourteen Races Still TBD

The City Council was sure to see some serious upheaval this election cycle, and the competitiveness of the fights for alderman is showing in tonight’s results: fifteen of the 50 wards appear set to head to runoffs on April 5.

There are still around fifty precincts still waiting to report around the city, but races around Chicago are yet to be determined. And many incumbent aldermen will be facing heated competition in those races six weeks from now.

Read about the various races that will be heading to runoffs here.

02/22/2011 11:40 PM EST

@ mattctweets : As my friend, @jlizak just said, Half of Chicago today blew off the right that the entire Mid East is fighting for. Way to go. #mayor11

02/22/2011 11:30 PM EST

Why Rahm Won

Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times lists the ten reasons Rahm won here. A sample:

1. Millions of dollars: Emanuel overwhelmed his rivals from the start with his formidable fund-raising ability. He took advantage of Illinois laws that allowed six-figure donations until Dec. 31.

2. He had a professional campaign, sprung almost full born from the day he started running: press, policy, fund-raising, you name it.

3. A potentially strong rival, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart decided not to run.

02/22/2011 10:50 PM EST

President Obama Congratulates Rahm

Statement of the President on the Election of Rahm Emanuel:

"I want to extend my congratulations to Rahm Emanuel on a well-deserved victory tonight. As a Chicagoan and a friend, I couldn't be prouder. Rahm will be a terrific mayor for all the people of Chicago."

02/22/2011 10:16 PM EST

Rahm Emanuel Speaks

"All I can say is, you sure know how to make a guy feel at home," he leads off.

"Tonight, we are moving forward in the only way we truly can: as one city, with one future." He goes on to congratulate his opponents and their supporters, and says he "looks forward to drawing on their insights, their energy and their experiences" in the days and years to come. "We have not won anything" until children can go to school safely, and workers can

"The plural pronoun 'we' is how we're going to win the future," he says, in a sort of clunky line. He's stumbling here and there, but clearly happy.

"I just spoke with Mayor Daley," he says, and is then interrupted by applause. Suddenly, he points to someone in the crowd, and with a big grin on his face, says, "How are ya?" This, apparently, is Lola Parker, who "has been my date every Saturday night while Amy and the kids are doing homework." Nothing scandalous here: he's talking about watching her son Jabari Parker star in Simeon High School basketball games.

"Rich Daley is an impossible act to follow," he says. In so many ways, yes.

Rahm chokes up a bit when thanking his wife, and then goes on to thank a long list of leaders, politicians, and others who have supported his campaign.

"I've also just talked to President Obama, who sends you his love and affection for his home town." Loud applause.

"If I can take a personal moment, during this campaign I've been to over 110 El stops." Some heckling. It's known as a cold city, but even on the coldest days, "because of the people of Chicago, this is the warmest place in America."

"I want to thank you, and tomorrow morning, I'm gonna see you on that El stop. Thank you and God bless you."

02/22/2011 9:54 PM EST

@ Suntimes : RT @natashakorecki Crowd already deafening @RahmEmanuel's HQ and he's yet to take stage. AP declaring him Chicago Mayor.

02/22/2011 9:52 PM EST

Gery Chico Concedes

"We've elected a mayor tonight," Chico told supporters. "I want with all of my heart for Rahm Emanuel to be successful as mayor. We need that, ladies and gentlemen.”

02/22/2011 9:51 PM EST

Miguel del Valle Concedes

"Well, we're still poor," del Valle says. "But we still have a lot to offer."

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