By DON BABWIN and DEANNA BELLANDI, Associated Press
CHICAGO (AP) - Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel was elected mayor of Chicago on Tuesday, easily overwhelming five rivals to take the helm of the nation's third-largest city as it prepares to chart a new course without the retiring Richard M. Daley.
With 86 percent of the precincts reporting, Emanuel was trouncing five opponents with 55 percent of the vote to avoid an April runoff. Emanuel needed more than 50 percent of the vote to win.
The other major candidates - former Chicago schools president Gery Chico, former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun and City Clerk Miguel del Valle - had hoped to force a runoff but were no match for Emanuel.
It was the city's first mayoral race in more than 60 years without an incumbent on the ballot and the first in more than two decades without Daley among the candidates.
Daley and his father have led Chicago for more than 43 out of the last 56 years.
Chico had 24 percent of the vote compared to 9 percent for both del Valle and Braun. Two other lesser-known candidates each got about 1 percent.
Emanuel's win caps a campaign that included an unsuccessful legal challenge to try to keep him off the ballot.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)