Mayor Rahm Emanuel thanks voters for win, says he's 'humbled' by runoff

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Rahm Emanuel thanked Chicago voters at the CTA Red Line's 95th Street station on Wednesday after winning his re-election bid, saying it wasn't an easy victory and that he was humbled by the experience.

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Emanuel beat Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia with 55 percent of the vote, compared to 44 percent for the challenger in the first mayoral runoff in Chicago history. He assured those who supported Garcia that they will be heard.

"There is more common ground than sometimes our public discourse provides space for. And my job as mayor is to make sure that we identify and find that common ground so we can move forward as one city. Because we should all have a stake in the future of this city," he said.

VIDEO: Emanuel declares victory in runoff election

The mayor's first public event and press conference since the election was held at a West Side daycare and early childhood education center. He had no specifics on his second term agenda.

"The decisions we make and the policies we put in place in the next four years will have an implication over the next 40 years," Emanuel said.

After the mayor repeated a familiar - but he says important - campaign theme, he insisted his governing style will change; that he will be a better listener as he attacks the city's myriad of fiscal problems.

"The challenges we have are hard. And they don't need to be made harder if I have a stylistic issue," he said.

Two years after one survey showed his approval rating among African Americans had fallen to single digits, Emanuel says he stressed relevant issues during the campaign to sweep all the pre-dominantly black wards by double digit margins.

"I talked about a minimum wage. I talked about the importance of quality high schools in our neighborhoods in the City of Chicago," he said. "I talked about ex-offenders."

President Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton and republican Gov. Bruce Rauner all called Tuesday night to congratulate the mayor. He said the call from his friend the governor did not include a discussion of how to resolve the city's "severe financial crisis," or Rauner's recent state budget cuts and their effect on the city.

"I think his indiscriminate approach to budget slashing is the wrong way to go," Emanuel said.

And the mayor reacted to reports that if Hilary Clinton is elected president in 2016, he will be a candidate for a cabinet position and could resign as mayor before his term is ended.

"This is the best job I ever had. I have no interest in another job. Zero, zilch, nada, nothing. Okay?" he said.

The mayor would not say if he talked about the siting of the Obama presidential library during his conversation with the president.

He also said he did not know when the announcement of the library location would be made, now that the mayoral campaign has ended.


The Chicago Board of Elections will start counting ballots that did not electronically transmit on Election Day at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

The board usually finishes that process and reaches 100 percent of precincts reporting by about 5 p.m. the next day.

Totals will not include absentee ballots that arrived Monday or later. The office expects to finish those counts between Thursday and April 21.

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