For weeks polls had former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel as the front-runner. So it came as no surprise Tuesday when he was overwhelmingly elected the next mayor of Chicago. by Wendell Hutson
Real Times News Service
For weeks polls had former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel as the front-runner.
So it came as no surprise Tuesday when he was overwhelmingly elected the next mayor of Chicago.
President Barack Obama leans backward as then-Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel speaks during a National Economic Council and Domestic Policy Council planning meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Feb. 11, 2010. Emanuel now has stepped out of the shadows of leadership to a front-and-center role as the next mayor of Chicago. (White House photo by Pete Souza)
Former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun speaks to supporters on election night after a disappointing fourth-place finish. (Photo by Worsom Robinson/Chicago Defender)
“What makes this victory so gratifying is that we won with votes from all across the city,” Emanuel said during his victory speech. “I am determined with your help to meet our challenges head on and to make our city even greater.”
The other five mayoral candidates never came close to forcing a runoff, which would have taken place April 5.
According to the Chicago Board of Elections Commissioners, the closest candidate was Gery Chico, who finished second with 24 percent. Third place went to Miguel del Valle with 9.3 percent; Carol Moseley Braun finished fourth with 8.8 percent; followed by Patricia Van Pelt Watkins 1.6, and William Walls, who finished last, with 0.89 percent.
Braun, the so-called consensus black candidate, became the nation’s first African-American female elected to the U.S. Senate in 1992. She served one term. In conceding the race, Braun said she “gave it her best.”
Celebrating on the West Side at the Plumbers, Local 130 headquarters Emanuel thanked Mayor Richard M. Daley and President Barack Obama, who he spoke to Tuesday night.
“I have spoken to both Mayor Daley and President Obama this evening,” he said. “This city bears his (Daley) imprint and tonight we thank him for a lifetime of service. He is an impossible act to follow.”
In a written statement, President Obama praised Emanuel for his victory and wished him well.
“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,” Obama said. “Rahm will be a terrific mayor for all the people of Chicago.”
Joining Emanuel on stage was Chicago firefighter Annette Holt, who co-chaired his campaign.
“I knew when he announced his candidacy that he would be my next mayor,” she said.
Also joining the mayor-elect was Andre Cowling, principal of Collins Academy High School on the West Side. Cowling, who has been featured in TV ads for Emanuel, said he supported him because he believes he can help improve public education.
“He is the best candidate for this job. He has insight for our children and it is that insight I am counting on to improve graduation rates and to make our schools safer,”Cowling told the Defender.
“He is someone who understands education and business.”
For the past two years Emanuel, a former North Side congressman, worked in Washington, D.C. guiding President Obama’s daily agenda.
He resides in the Ravenswood neighborhood on the North Side with his wife, Amy Rule, and their three small children, Zach, Ilana and Leah.
(Wendell Hutson is a staff writer for the Chicago Defender, a Real Times Media newspaper, along with the Tri-State Defender.)