Emanuel reelected, Garcia claims ‘It’s not the end’


Lou Foglia

Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks to his supporters at Chicago Plumbers Hall, 1340 W. Washington Blvd., after being reelected April 7. Emanuel and challenger Jesus “Chuy” Garcia were forced into Chicago’s first mayoral runoff election after Emaunel failed to secure 50 percent of the vote.

By Managing Editor & Metro Reporter

Mayor Rahm Emanuel was reelected April 7 after a six-week standoff with Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia. 

The two had been locked in a heated campaign battle featuring dueling political ads that ultimately may have determined the election since Feb. 24, when Emanuel’s failure to achieve more than 50 percent of the vote in the general election sparked Chicago’s first-ever mayoral runoff election.

Emanuel achieved 56.18 percent of the vote April 7, compared to Garcia’s 43.82 percent, according to the Chicago Election Board Commissioners’ website. 

Emanuel’s supporters gathered at Plumbers Hall, 1340 W. Washington Blvd., while dancing to a cover of Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk.” 

After Emanuel’s win was announced, the crowd chanted “four more years.”

City Clerk Susana Mendoza was the first of the mayor’s long-term supporters to congratulate him on stage. 

“Wow, Chicago. Thanks to you, what a campaign it has been,” Mendoza said. “We are working not just for a candidate, but for the future of Chicago.”

Emanuel walked onto the stage holding hands with his two daughters, Leah and Ilana, greeted his wife, Amy Rule, with a kiss and gave the audience a wave.

“To all the voters, I want to thank you for putting me through my paces,” Emanuel said to the crowd of supporters. “I will be a better mayor because of that. I will carry your voices, your concerns.”

Emanuel first took office as mayor in 2011. For the next four years, Emanuel plans to tackle issues regarding increasing economic development in low income areas, education, energy and sustainability, immigration and public safety, according to ChicagoTogether.org, Emanuel’s  campaign website.

“To the Second City, who voted for a second term and a second chance,” Emanuel said. “Being mayor of the City of Chicago is the greatest job I have ever had. We are the city that works, and that means it has to work for everyone, in every neighborhood in every part of the city of Chicago,” Emanuel said. “In an era of hard choices, I can’t promise everybody will be pleased with every decision, but the challenges we face, we face as one community, one city, one voice where every voice counts.”

At Garcia’s election party, held at the University of Illinois at Chicago Forum, 725. W. Roosevelt Rd., disappointment was in the air as a jazz band blared over the crowd. Had Garcia been elected, he would have been the first Latino mayor in Chicago’s history.

Garcia will return to public life as Cook County commissioner. 

“We didn’t lose today,” Garcia said. “We tried today. We fought hard for what we believed in. You can’t succeed if you don’t try. We may have fallen short of votes today, but we will make sure these voices are heard.” 

Garcia’s supporters included Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, Miguel de Valle, former state senator, and David Orr, Cook County clerk. 

“We fought a hell of a race,” said Sylvia Ewing, deputy campaign manager for Garcia. 

According to a March 31 Chicago Tribune report, Emanuel’s approval rating improved to 52 percent from bottoming out at 35 percent  in August. 

“With Emanuel as mayor, the city will remain divided between the rich and the poor,” said the Rev. Jesse Jackson at Garcia’s election party before Garcia announced that he had conceded to Emanuel.