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Rahm Emanuel wins Chicago mayor race

The former White House chief of staff garners more than the 50% he needs to avoid a runoff, according to unofficial returns.

February 22, 2011|Times staff and wire reports
  • Chicago Mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel sits with family members as he awaits election return at his election night rally in Chicago.
Chicago Mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel sits with family members as he awaits… (Tannen Maury / EPA )

Rahm Emanuel won the Chicago mayor's race Tuesday night, gaining well over the 50% he needed to avoid a runoff, according to unofficial returns.

With 87% of the precincts counted, Emanuel held just under 55% of the vote. His nearest competitor, Gery Chico, had 24%. Both CNN and the Associated Press called the election for Emanuel, who was President Obama's chief of staff until he resigned to run for mayor after Richard M. Daley announced he would not seek reelection.

Daley wasn't on the ballot for the first time since 1989. He'll leave office May 16 when Emanuel is sworn in.

If Emanuel had failed to win a majority, he would have faced a runoff in April.

Turnout hovered beneath 40%, according to Chicago's Board of Election Commissioners. A low turnout favored highly an organized, well-financed campaign like Emanuel's.

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