Rahm Emanuel faces runoff in Chicago mayor race

After failing to persuade a majority of Chicago voters to back his re-election bid, Mayor Rahm Emanuel could face an even stiffer challenge in April against a runoff opponent aiming to consolidate the support of residents unhappy with how the former White House chief of staff has managed the nation’s third-largest city.

In a race Tuesday against four challengers, Emanuel discovered it wasn’t enough to spend millions of dollars on TV ads, earn the backing of the city’s business leaders, and secure the hometown endorsement of President Barack Obama. In order to keep the job, he’ll need to win another race in six weeks against Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, a Cook County commissioner who claims the backing of teachers, unions and neighborhood residents disillusioned with Emanuel.

Emanuel pledges to rev up campaigning immediately.

“We will get back out there, talking to our friends and families and neighbors as they make a critical choice about who has the strength, who has the leadership, who has the ideas to move this great city forward,” Emanuel tells supporters Tuesday evening.

The mayor is out greeting residents at a South Side transit station Wednesday morning. Garcia does the same, shaking hands and tossing campaign buttons to Chicago Transit Authority passengers at a downtown station.

“My campaign reached out to every part of the city of Chicago,” Garcia tells reporters there. “I’m very proud of it.”

Garcia and his supporters say they’re ready for another contest, with national groups poised to weigh in on the mayor’s race.

“This city deserves a mayor who will put people first, not big money, special interests,” Garcia says Tuesday night. “I will be that mayor.”

Illustrative photo of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaking at a news conference, October 15, 2013 (photo credit: AP/M. Spencer Green)
Illustrative photo of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaking at a news conference, October 15, 2013 (photo credit: AP/M. Spencer Green)

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