Rahm Emanuel Elected Mayor of Chicago, His Dream Fulfilled

Former Obama chief of staff avoids runoff, drawing more than 50 percent of vote.

ByABC News
February 23, 2011, 1:23 AM

Feb. 23, 2011— -- Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has realized his lifelong dream to become mayor of Chicago -- succeeding longtime mayor Richard M. Daley while facing many challenges ahead.

Easily winning a majority in Tuesday's election, Emanuel avoided a runoff in the crowded and hotly contested race.

With 99 percent of the vote counted, Emanuel, 51, had 55 percent, winning the mayoral election outright and avoiding a runoff in April, according to unofficial election results.

"Looking forward to working together as your next mayor," he tweeted Tuesday night.

With a national fundraising advantage and support from President Obama and former President Bill Clinton, Emamuel led the race from the moment he left the White House.

President Obama, Emanuel's longtime friend and former employer, issued a statement Tuesday congratulating him after all five other candidates in the race had conceded.

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

Emanuel's closest challenger, longtime city official Gery Chico, received 24 percent of the vote.

Former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, the so-called "consensus" African-American candidate, polled a distant fourth with only about 9 percent.

In his victory address at Plumbers Hall, Emanuel thanked his supporters and spoke about his vision for the city.

"We have not won anything until a child can go to school and not think of their safety we have not won anything. Until a parent can think of their work, and not where they're going to find work, we have not won anything," Emanuel said. "The plural pronoun of 'we' is how we're going to meet the challenges. ... I do not want to see another child's name in memorial killed by violence."

For more on the history of the job of mayor in Chicago, why so many politicians want it, and an interview by George Stephanopoulos with current Mayor Richard Daley click here.