Rahm Emanuel delivers victory speech shortly after 9 p.m. on Tuesday.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel to serve four more years after winning runoff

By Ellen Kobe

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was elected to a second term on Tuesday after easily defeating challenge Jesus “Chuy” Garcia in an unprecedented mayoral runoff.

“Being the mayor of the city of Chicago is the greatest job I’ve ever had and the greatest job in the world,” Emaunel said during his victory speech at the Chicago Plumber’s Local 130 Union Hall. “I’m humbled at the opportunity to continue to serve you — the greatest city with the greatest people for the next four years.”

He said that he is proud of what the city has accomplished in the past four years and that he has listened to the people of Chicago’s concerns.

“The decisions that we make over the next four years will determine what Chicago will look like in the next 40 years.”

Grace Mager, 16, a sophomore at St. Ignatius High School attended Emanuel’s victory party.

“I’m very pleased with how Rahm did tonight,” she said. “Great job.”

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel calls voters at one of the field offices on the South Side. (Thomas Yau/Medill)
Earlier on Tuesday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel calls voters at one of the field offices on the South Side. (Thomas Yau/Medill)

Garcia conceded with just short of three-fourths of the precinct results counted just before 8 p.m. But he had been fairly consistently behind by about 10 percentage points during most of the evening as ballots were counted after polls closed at 7.

“I have loved Chicago for 50 years,” Garcia said in a speech to supporters at the UIC Forum. “Thats a whole lot of love.”

Garcia said that the city’s leaders need to keep taxes low, attract new people to the city and halt violence. He also emphasized that he hopes the city’s leaders pay more attention to what happens in Chicago’s neighborhoods instead of exclusively focusing on downtown.

"Chuy" Garcia delivers concession speech shortly after 9 p.m. on Tuesday.
“Chuy” Garcia delivers concession speech shortly after 9 p.m. on Tuesday. Screen grab from WGN-TV live broadcast.

Voter turnout, at 39%, was low, but slightly higher than the general election in February. With 97% of precincts counted, Emanuel had 56% of the vote. Garcia trailed with 44%.

The Stu Hirsh Orchestra performs at the beginning of Rahm's election night party. (Stephanie Choporis/Medill)
The Stu Hirsh Orchestra performs at the beginning of Rahm’s election night party. (Stephanie Choporis/Medill)

As votes were being counted Tuesday evening, the Stu Hirsh Orchestra played covers of uplifting songs, such as “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas and “December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)” by the Four Seasons at Emanuel’s election party. Occasionally, one of the band members asked the crowd if it were ready for four more years with Emanuel. The crowd responded by raising “I’m with Rahm” signs and cheering.

Both campaigns quickly Tweeted thanks after Garcia conceded the race.


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David Orr Cook — former mayor, current Cook County clerk and co-chair of the Garcia for Chicago mayoral campaign — said that this election has mobilized the city to tackle some of Chicago’s challenges.

“We have a lot of work still to do, we built a healthy coalition, a strong coalition, and we need to continue that work,” he said.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, who endorsed Garcia during his campaign, said that everyone’s voice should be heard in the plan to fix Chicago’s problems.

“The people have spoken,” he said, referring to the need for a mayoral runoff. “I hope that the people are seen as constituents to be heard, not the enemies to be marginalized.”


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Earlier Tuesday afternoon, Susana Mendoza — co-chair for & Chicago City Clerk — said that Emanuel is the right person for the job and that he campaigned tirelessly to gain support of his constituents.

“He [Emanuel] has worked as a fiend as mayor for the people of Chicago,” she said. “He is really their number one fighter.”

Additional reporting by Steven Chambers, Stephanie Choporis and Mathias Meier.

Photo at top: Rahm Emanuel delivers victory speech shortly after 9 p.m. on Tuesday. (Isabella Szabolcs/Medill)

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