Barack Obama’s former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, has been elected as the next Mayor of Chicago.
Emanuel avoided having to go to a second round vote after garnering 55 percent of ballots.
It was the first time since 1947 that a sitting mayor has not run for re-election in the city; out-going mayor Richard Daley has been in the post for 21 years and announced last September that he would not seek a record seventh term in office. Emanuel, who had previously said he would never challenge Mayor Daley, left his position as Obama’s chief of staff in October to pursue a job he said he had long coveted.
Obama sent Emanuel a congratulatory message saying: “As a Chicagoan and a friend, I couldn’t be prouder. Rahm will be a terrific mayor for all the people of Chicago.”
Emanuel, who was an investment banker prior to his career in politics, was a member of the House of Representatives from 2003 to 2009 and was a senior advisor to President Bill Clinton.
His contacts helped him amass a sizeable financial advantage over his rivals for the mayoral post in Chicago. His 13 million dollar campaign war-chest was around four times larger than his closest rival, allowing him to win the battle for advertising space. His closeness to Clinton and Obama also helped him secure the backing of Chicago’s African-American population.
Emanuel did have to fend off a challenge to his eligibility for the position of mayor, with one rival candidate claiming he abandoned his residency of Chicago by leaving for Washington to work in the White House.