Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel has been elected mayor of Chicago and will succeed the retiring Richard Daley.
Emanuel called his victory "humbling" and "most gratifying." He also thanked Daley for his lifetime of service to the city.
Emanuel said he is ready to meet the challenges head-on to "make a great city even greater." He also said he had just talked to President Barack Obama, who sent affection for his hometown.
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.
With 97 percent of the precincts reporting, Emanuel was trouncing five opponents Tuesday 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 U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun and City Clerk Miguel del Valle - had hoped to force a runoff but were no match for Emanuel.
Chico had 24 percent of the vote compared to 9 percent for both del Valle and Braun. Two other lesser-known candidates got about 1 to 2 percent of the vote.
Emanuel's win caps off a campaign that included an unsuccessful legal challenge to try to keep him off the ballot.
Chico told supporters tonight that he and Emanuel spoke on the phone and he pledged to help the new mayor any way he could.
2,522 of 2,570 precincts - 98 percent
x-Rahm Emanuel, 317,329 - 55 percent
Gery Chico, 138,864 - 24 percent
Miguel del Valle, 53,717 - 9 percent
Carol Moseley Braun, 50,974 - 9 percent
Patricia Van Pelt Watkins, 9,358 - 2 percent
William Walls, 5,142 - 1 percent
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