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Posted at 9:13 PM ET, 02/22/2011

Rahm Emanuel wins Chicago mayoral race

By Aaron Blake and Chris Cillizza

Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel was elected mayor of Chicago on Tuesday, winning a simple majority of the vote in a six-candidate field, according to the Associated Press.

The latest results -- with more then three quarters of precincts reporting -- show Emanuel running well above the 50 percent he needed to avoid an April 5 runoff. CNN projected Emanuel the winner shortly before 9 p.m. eastern time.

Former Chicago board of education president Gery Chico was running in second with City Clerk Miguel del Valle and former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun battling for third and fourth but mired in single digits.

Emanuel becomes the city's first new mayor of the Windy City since 1989, when current Mayor Richard M. Daley was first elected. Daley is retiring.

Emanuel left the White House late last year to run for mayor, an office he had long -- and publicly -- coveted.

Tapping the vast political and fundraising connections gathered during his time in the House of Representatives representing Illinois' 5th district, Emanuel raised more than $11 million -- far outdistancing Chico and Moseley Braun.

The only real threat to Emanuel's campaign came in the form of a challenge to his residency. An Illinois Court ruled earlier this month that Emanuel had not lived in Chicago for a full year prior to the race and threw him off the ballot. Emanuel appealed the ruling to the state Supreme Court, which quickly overruled the decision of the lower court.

The residency challenge out of the way, Emanuel grew stronger -- picking up large chunks of the African American vote as Moseley Braun, who is black, proved an unsteady and underfunded candidate.

The former senator and 2004 presidential candidate became the consensus black candidate in the race, but she didn't raise the necessary money and, at one point, berated an opponent for being "strung out on crack."

Many other big-name candidates passed on the race once Emanuel decided to run -- including Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart and all of the area's current members of Congress.

By Aaron Blake and Chris Cillizza  | February 22, 2011; 9:13 PM ET
Categories:  Democratic Party  
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