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Rahm Emanuel wins Chicago mayoral race, avoids runoff

Rahm Emanuel has won the Chicago mayoral race by 55 percent which brings him over the 50 percent needed to avoid an April runoff. Emanuel calls the win humbling.

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Emanuel had just been elected to his fourth term in 2008, when he resigned to work for fellow Chicagoan President Barack Obama. It was a job he held until he resigned in October 2010 to run for Chicago mayor. He had also worked as a top aide to Bill Clinton.

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During his time in Congress, Emanuel served as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and was credited with leading Democrats to victory in 2006, when they won the majority in the House after a dozen years in the minority.

The new mayor faces a daunting series of challengers, including fixing the city's finances, addressing underfunded employee pensions and confronting a shrinking urban population.

The new mayor will have to decide quickly on a politically unpalatable strategy for improving city finances that may involve raising taxes and cutting services and public employee benefits.

Daley has been criticized for allowing the city to spend beyond its means, and Chicago was not spared the pain of the economic downturn of the last few years.

The city's inspector general's office warned in October that Chicago's annual deficit was effectively more than $1 billion when combining recent budget deficits with the spending increases the city would need to properly fund its pension system.

The new mayor will also have to find new leadership for city schools and a new police superintendent. All the candidates have talked about wanting to replace Jody Weis with someone who has a stronger focus on neighborhood policing.

Emanuel's win capped off a campaign that included an unsuccessful legal challenge to try to knock him off the ballot.

More than two dozen objectors contended that Emanuel wasn't eligible to run for mayor because he didn't meet the city's one-year residency requirement.

Emanuel had lived in Washington for nearly two years while he worked for President Barack Obama and his family had rented out their Chicago home to join him. Emanuel moved back to Chicago in October after Daley announced he wouldn't seek a seventh term.

The matter went all the way to the Illinois Supreme Court, which overturned a lower-court ruling that threw Emanuel off the ballot.

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