Rahm Emanuel wins second term as Chicago mayor

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Mayor Rahm Emanuel won a second term following a heated campaign with challenger Jesus "Chuy" Garcia in Chicago's first-ever runoff election for mayor.

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With nearly all voting precincts reporting results, Emanuel had about 55 percent of the vote compared to around 44 percent for Garcia.

Emanuel greeted his supporters at Plumbers Hall Tuesday night, where he thanked voters for allowing him a "second term and a second chance."

VIDEO: Emanuel declares victory in runoff election


"Being mayor of the city of Chicago is the greatest job I've ever had and the greatest job in the world. I am humbled at the opportunity to continue to serve you - the greatest city with the greatest people - for the next four years," Emanuel said.

Eighteen months ago, Emanuel was in the political dumps with a citywide approval rating in the 30 percent range. The same rating was in the single digits among African Americans.

But he went to work on the campaign trail, caught a few breaks, and spent lots of money to rebuild himself politically. As he declared victory, Emanuel was joined on stage by his wife, Amy Rule.

"I promise you no one will work harder on behalf of every Chicagoan," Rule said.

"Around the world, there is no other city where an immigrant from Mexico and the grandson of an immigrant from Moldova can both run for the highest office of this great city," Emanuel said. "And to all the voters, I want to thank you for putting me through the paces. I will be a better mayor because of that."

VIDEO: Garcia addresses supporters after conceding race to Emanuel


Garcia said that while the votes may not have been there, the middle class voices were heard and will continue to be heard. He told his supporters the story of how he came to Chicago from Mexico as a little boy 50 years ago.

"The people of Chicago have made me who I am today. We may have missed by a little, but you put me here tonight," Garcia said. "I have something to say to the next generation, to all the little boys and girls watching: We didn't lose today, we tried today."

Even in defeat, Garcia and his supporters said that the vote totals send a message that many Chicago neighborhoods feel that City Hall has neglected them for too long, and that they expect change.

Emanuel will have to address the city's financial challenges over the next several weeks. He will face questions on how he will resolve the city's $300 million operating deficit and the $550 million pension payment due at the end of this year, as well as how soon and how much to raise property taxes.
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