Mayor Rahm Emanuel was re-elected Tuesday to a second four-year term over challenger Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia in Chicago’s first-ever runoff election.
The mayor received 56 percent of the vote with Garcia taking 44 percent, according to the Chicago Board of Elections.
With an excited crowd cheering “one more year, one more year,” Emanuel walked onto the stage at the Chicago Journeyman Plumbers Union Hall and delivered his victory speech, where he took a grateful but humbled tone and thanked Garcia for running an excellent race.
Emanuel said Chicago is a city of immigrants, pointing out Garcia moved here with his parents from Mexico, while Emanuel is the son and grandson of immigrants (his father moved to the U.S. from Jerusalem, and his grandfather was from Moldova).
“Here in Chicago, we’re immigrants who come for the promise, the promise of Chicago,” he said. “And they work hard, they love their kids and give them an education that can take their kids as far as their dreams have.”
Emanuel also promised to be a better mayor and said no family who has a job will live in poverty.
“Work leads to the middle class and the American dream,” Emanuel said.
The board of elections reported 556,394 of the 1,144,637 registered voters came to the polls, or about 39 percent.
Maria Ihekwaba, 55, who lives in Rogers Park, said she volunteered for the Emanuel campaign by handing out fliers and knocking on doors.
Ihekwaba supports Emanuel because of his positions on education and children. “Education — that’s number one — and the children are our future,” Ihekwaba said.
Another supporter, Roushunda Williams, wearing a shirt that read “Rahm Love,” said she is a member of Unite Here, which represents workers in the gaming, hospitality, food service, laundry, airports and other industries.
“Rahm has been good for the hospitality industry, he’s grown tourism and we are hospitality workers,” Williams said. “So that means better benefits, that means health care, that means sick days, that means everything is in place to keep our families supported effectively.”
City Clerk Susana A. Mendoza, the first woman ever to be elected to the office, thanked voters who were part of the campaign and went to the polls.
“Now the results are in Chicago, and we have won the great victory because of you, thank you Chicago,” Mendoza said.
“Rahm Emanuel has been a great leader of the city of Chicago. He has been willing to tell the truth even when the truth is hard.”