23 Feb 2011

Obama's former chief of staff wins Chicago mayoral election

7:17 pm on 23 February 2011

Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel has been elected mayor of Chicago in the most competitive city hall election in more than two decades.

Mr Emanuel, who is also a former congressman, trumped five rivals with 55% of the vote and avoided a run-off, with 86% of the precincts reporting. He needed 50% of the vote to win outright.

He will replace Mayor Richard Daley, who has been in office since 1989 and is stepping down.

United States President Barack Obama sent his congratulations to his former chief of staff, saying the victory was well-deserved, the BBC reports.

"As a Chicagoan and a friend, I couldn't be prouder. Rahm will be a terrific mayor for all the people of Chicago," he said.

Longtime city official Gery Chico received 24% of the vote, while City Clerk Miguel del Valle and former Senator Carol Moseley-Braun each had 9%.

The race was the first Chicago mayoral race in more than 20 years without Mr Daley listed among the candidates and the first race in over 60 years without an incumbent on the ballot.

Mr Emanuel, who will become the city's first Jewish mayor, will replace Richard Daley, who was first elected in 1989. His father, also called Richard Daley, was mayor from 1955 until his death in 1976.