Chicago Board of Elections results
DOWNTOWN — Rahm Emanuel wanted a walk-off victory but got a runoff instead.
The election for the top job in Chicago is headed to overtime, as the mayor didn't reach the more than 50 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff.
Instead, Emanuel and Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia are headed for a runoff election on April 7.
With 97 percent of the vote in, Emanuel had 45.36 percent of the vote, and Garcia had 33.93 percent in the election, which drew a low turnout of about 33 percent.
It's a disappointment for a nationally known, incumbent mayor who out-fundraised and out-spent his opponents, and basked in an 11th hour visit from President Barack Obama, whom Emanuel served as White House chief of staff.
Garcia capitalized on the issues that Emanuel battled during his first term: a murder spike, a teachers strike and the closure of dozens of schools in minority neighborhoods. Indeed, Garcia got into the race at the urging of Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, who had to bow out after being diagnosed with a brain tumor as she geared up for her own run against Emanuel, whom she has publicly feuded with for years.
Emanuel called Garcia "a good man" and told supporters at Plumbers Hall in the West Loop, "I look forward to debating the issues in the weeks ahead."
He described Chicago as a city of different ideas and approaches, but he added "We all share the same values" — "a fair shot for everybody."
Emanuel told supporters to "take a moment to celebrate what we've accomplished in four years."
On Wednesday, though, he said his campaign was "going to double down."
Garcia was more direct in his election night address, attacking Emanuel as being more interested in the wealthy and in special interests than in common people.
"They've had their say for too long, " Garcia said, warning, "They're not going to give up easy."
At Alhambra Palace on the Near West Side, Garcia declared, "We're sick and tired of being sick and tired, " and thanked a number of working-class groups and unions, describing them as "the people who made this city great."
"We want change. We're going to change it together, " he said, calling for "a new Chicago."
Emanuel was well-armed financially, building a campaign war chest estimated at $30 million. He raised $15 million for this election and spent about $7 million on TV commercials.
Garcia, 58, a former alderman who raised about $1.3 million, only launched a TV campaign two weeks ago, spending about $600, 000 on the advertisements.
In them, Garcia, whose father came to Chicago from Mexico in the 1940s to work in a cold storage facility, criticized the incumbent as favoring the wealthy through tax incentives for developers.