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Rahm: Surviving Runoff Will Make Me "A Better Mayor"

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A day after securing his second term, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the historic runoff election in Chicago would make him "a better mayor," after enduring a heated six-week contest against Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, a virtual unknown to most Chicagoans before he challenged the mayor.

"The Second City gave a second term, and a second chance," Emanuel said Wednesday morning as he greeted commuters at the 95th Street Red Line station, where he shook hands and posed for selfies with supporters, though some people left his hand hanging.

Emanuel, politically damaged by his decision to close more than 50 Chicago Public Schools and fighting the perception that he was out of touch with voters and only focused on pleasing well-heeled business connections, failed to win 50 percent of the vote in February's election.


He was forced into the first mayoral runoff election in Chicago history, since the city switched to non-partisan elections for mayor in 1995.

Garcia repeatedly hammered Emanuel for his handling of schools, violent crime, and city finances, but fell short in the end, as Emanuel won easily with 56 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results.

Emanuel said surviving the runoff would make him a better mayor.

"Anytime you gotta go through an election, I find it invigorating, energizing, because also the people you meet, the stories that they have, I went through the paces, and I think I'll be a better mayor for it," he said.

He said he did not intend to upstage Garcia by starting his victory speech while Garcia was still giving his concession.

"Not at all. The intent was to … obviously he and I had a good conversation on the phone, and my attempt was, when introduced by my wife, to come out and address the crowd," he said.


When asked by reporters Wednesday afternoon about the new and independent voices and faces he will have on the City Council going forward, the mayor says he is fine with that, too.

"I reject wholeheartedly on one end of the spectrum, Council Wars," Emanuel said. "It was unproductive and it had serious consequences for the city. I totally reject rubber stamp. I want the City Council to be part of reform and change."

He says if aldermen have constructive ideas, they should voice them.

The mayor also dealt with rumors about cabinet positions waiting for him in a Hillary Clinton administration.

"I have no interest in another job," Emanuel said. "Zero. Zilch. Nada. Nothing."

Marilyn Grimes was among those who chatted with the mayor the day after he secured a second term.

"I just told him that I was very happy for him," she said.

Anthony Curtis pulled the mayor aside for a selfie. He said he supported Emanuel's bid for a second term.

"I'm used to him. You know, I really wasn't too quick to find somebody else. It's been four years, so he's been doing pretty good, so why not?" Curtis said.

Emanuel will be sworn in for his second term on May 18.

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