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Updated: 11:07 p.m.
Former Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) will be the next mayor of Chicago, winning 55 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s election with 97 percent of precincts counted, according to the city’s Board of Election Commissioners.
The former White House chief of staff declared victory Tuesday evening. “What makes this victory most gratifying is that it was built on votes from every corner of the city from people who believe that a common set of challenges must be met with a common purpose,” Emanuel told supporters in Plumbers’ Hall in the city’s Near West Side, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
He added, “You sure know how to make a guy feel at home.”
He had to survive layers of legal challenges arguing that he didn’t meet the city’s one-year residency requirement because of his tenure at the White House in the Obama administration. On Jan. 27, just after the Board of Election Commissioners began printing ballots without Emanuel’s name, the Illinois Supreme Court overturned an appeals court ruling that he didn’t meet the requirement.
President Barack Obama congratulated Emanuel on Tuesday night for his “well-deserved victory.”
“As a Chicagoan and a friend, I couldn’t be prouder,” Obama said in a statement. “Rahm will be a terrific mayor for all the people of Chicago.”
Because he received more than 50 percent of the vote, Emanuel is the winner outright and won’t have to compete in an April runoff. He defeated several other major Democratic candidates in the nonpartisan election: Former school board chief Gery Chico was in second place with 24 percent, and former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun and City Clerk Miguel del Valle had about 9 percent each. Chico called Emanuel to concede and pledge his support, the Sun-Times reported.
Emanuel will succeed longtime Mayor Richard M. Daley, who was first elected in 1989. Daley announced in September that he wouldn’t run for re-election, and Emanuel stepped down from his White House post soon after to pursue the position.
The new mayor will be sworn in May 16.