Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Rahm Emanuel elected Chicago mayor

Washington, 23 Feb 2011

Mr Emanuel trounced opponents with 55 percent of the vote, a comfortable distance above the 50.1 per cent needed to avoid a run- off.

For 43 of the last 56 years the city was governed by Richard J Daley or his son Richard M Daley.

On his way to victory Mr Emanuel fought off a legal challenge to keep him off the ballot because he had spent most of the preceding two years in Washington working for the president.

Mr Emanuel said the victory was \"humbling\" and thanked Mr Daley for his lifetime of service, saying the outgoing mayor had \"earned a special place in our hearts and our history.\"

But he added: \"We have not won anything until a kid can go to school thinking of their studies and not their safety. Until the parent of that child is thinking about their work and not where they are going to find work, we have not won anything.\"

The 51-year-old, who was born in Chicago and served a slice of the city for years in the US House of Representatives, is known for his no-nonsense style and foul language in meetings.

His uncompromising style earned him the nickname "Rahmbo\", and he is expected to replicate Mr Daley's uncompromising tactics and focus on maintaining Chicago's reputation as "the city that works\".

President Obama quickly sent his congratulations to the mayor-elect. \"As a Chicagoan and a friend, I couldn\'t be prouder. \"Rahm will be a terrific mayor for all the people of Chicago.\"

\"Chicagoans feel Chicago is a difficult city to rule," said Ken Janda, professor emeritus of political science at Northwestern University.

\"You've got to be a guy who says no. And Emanuel is seen to be a guy who is tough and can say no."

Emanuel was also favored because he has such high-profile support. Mr Obama - who remains wildly popular in his adoptive hometown of Chicago - gave Mr Emanuel a glowing endorsement.

Former president Bill Clinton flew to the heavily Democratic city last month to campaign for Emanuel, who once served as a senior adviser.

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