In an election that was already decided by 8:30 p.m., Rahm Emanuel won a mayoral race so decisively Feb. 22 that there will be no runoff.
The election was groundbreaking because, for the first time in 22 years, no one named Daley was on the ballot. Also, for the first time in more than six decades, a sitting mayor did not run.
Emanuel ended up with 55 percent of the vote, with Gery Chico a distant second at 24 percent. City Clerk Miguel del Valle had 9.2 percent and former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun was at 9.0 percent. Only 42 percent of the city's 1,406,037 registered voters participated in the election.
Heading into election day, Emanuel was cautiously optimistic, saying at one point that "two bites of the apple" (meaning a runoff vote) might be necessary. The winner needed 50 percent of the votes plus one in order to avoid a runoff.
However, Emanuel got what he needed by winning 40 of the city's 50 wards, sweeping areas where African Americans and Latinos reside. The only areas he did not win were in Chicago's Northwest Side, where many police officers and firefighters live; the unions representing those professionals supported Chico.
Emanuel will be sworn in May 16.
Also, state Rep. Susana Mendoza became the first female to be elected city clerk. She will succeed del Valle.
Although the mayoral race received most of the media coverage, aldermanic races were held as well. These races were particularly historic as well, as 11 aldermenincluding incumbents such as Helen Shiller of the 46th Ward and Mary Ann Smith of the 48th Wardstepped down, making way for a drastically revamped city council.
The race to replace Shiller was one of three in Chicago to feature at least 10 candidatesand three in this particular race (Emily Stewart, Don Nowotny and James Cappleman) are openly gay. Although Stewart had the backing of the Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune, Cappleman (at 19.81 percent, with 98 percent of votes counted) and Molly Phelan (at 19.73 percent) will head to runoff. (Runoffs involve the top two candidates in each race.) If Cappleman prevails, he will be the second out gay individual in city council, joining 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney, who was unopposed.
There will be 14 runoff elections around the city Tuesday, April 5.
Another runoff will take place in the 43rd Ward, between Michele Smith and Tim Egan. The victor will replace outgoing Ald. Vi Daley.
History was made in the 47th Ward, as Ameya Pawar became the first Indian-American to be part of city council. Pawar had 51 percent of the vote while Tom O'Donnell, who was favored, had 43 percent. (The other two candidates, Matt Reichel and Tom Jacks, had about 6 percent combined.)
Ald. Joe Moore easily retained his seat in the 49th Ward, beating challenger Brian White 71 percent to 28 percent.
In the 50th Ward, things may change, as longtime Ald. Bernie Stone will face Debra Silverstein in a runoff. Stone, 83, was first elected to city council in 1973 and is the second-longest serving alderman, behind Ed Burke.
In another race involving an openly gay candidate, state Rep. Harry Osterman easily outdistanced his opponents, including openly gay paramedic Jose Arteaga, to capture the 48th Ward. Osterman will replace Mary Ann Smith.