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Chico concedes mayor’s race to Emanuel

At Braun’s campaign party at a South Side ballroom, a 10-man gospel chorus was on stage belting out a song with the chorus “We are the chosen generation.”

Many in attendance turned away from the TV on one side of the room and clapped for the group or waved their hands to the music. Some held up smart phones to get quick videos of the performance.

A few dozen “Carol for Chicago” signs were stacked just outside the room for Braun’s eventual appearance before a bank of news cameras. Some on the campaign were signaling it will be an early night.

Earlier today, the major contenders fanned out across the city on Election Day looking for last-minute votes.

Despite a tremendous amount of attention on the mayor’s race and a slew of hotly-contested aldermanic races, election officials say turnout could be as low as 40 percent. That’s far less than the 50 percent turnout officials were hoping for on Monday.

If no candidate scores a majority tonight, the top two finishers will square off for six more weeks of campaigning. A runoff election will be held to determine Chicago’s next mayor.

Mayor Richard Daley, who is out of town today, isn’t on the ballot for the first time since 1989. He’ll leave office on May 16 when his successor is sworn in.

Emanuel is at a Near West Side union hall, Chico at a downtown hotel, Braun at a South Side ballroom and del Valle at a microbrewery.

About 150 turned out foir del Valle’s election night party. State Sen. Iris Martinez, D-Chicago, said she was amazed by the low turnout.

“Why people are not more engaged the way they should be? It amazes me,” she said.

“I think people are going through foreclosures, the bad economy. These could be all the affects of it,” Martinez said. “People feel disengaged.”

Chico, a former Daley chief of staff, spent the closing weeks of the contest working to erode what had been growing support for Emanuel and get into a runoff by ridiculing the “Rahm Tax.” That’s Emanuel’s plan to reduce the city’s home-rule sales tax but expand the tax base to unspecified services. Chico ripped the plan in TV ads and Emanuel put up his own spots to rebut the criticism.

In the final week, Chico ratcheted up his TV commercial criticism, contending Emanuel was pushing the sales-tax plan because “Rahm grew up in suburban safety and privilege” of the wealthy North Shore where higher taxes might be more acceptable than in working family neighborhoods.

Emanuel, who largely avoided addressing his opponents, called Chico “desperate” and countered “It’s not what neighborhood you grew up in. It’s whether you’re going to fight for neighborhoods.”

But Emanuel also began lowering expectations last weekend, acknowledging “it may take one or two bites of the apple” to become mayor.

Still, his camp pushed hard in the final days to close out a win in the race, keeping with the aura of inevitably it pushed. Emanuel used an extensive bankroll to run TV ads, deliver automated telephone messages and extol volunteers to get out the vote.

Though pre-election polls showed Emanuel gradually nearing the magic majority of support needed to prevent a runoff, Chico, Braun and del Valle each had urged voters to extend the campaign and allow voters more time to digest the significant issues at hand. Among them: An increasing city budget deficit, an improved-but-still-troubled public school system, a ballooning public-employee pension debt and ways to create jobs, improve the economy and combating a perception of a growing crime problem.

Each of Emanuel’s rivals pleaded with voters to ignore the former White House chief of staff’s huge lead in the polls and turn out to vote to set up a runoff.

“We, I think, will have a runoff and it will be good for the city,” del Valle predicted last weekend. “There are too many issues out there.”

Veteran election attorney Burt Odelson ended up being one of Emanuel’s toughest opponents. He claimed Emanuel wasn’t eligible to run for mayor because he abandoned his Chicago residency when he went to work for Obama.

After wending its way through the city’s election board – including a raucous hearing in which the tough, sharp-tongued Emanuel won points for staying cool under questioning for more than 11 hours by citizens and activists – the state Supreme Court in late January ruled in Emanuel’s favor.

Throughout it all, Emanuel abided by his campaign’s plan to keep his head down and let his lawyers do their work and being regimented about staying on message and trying appear above the fray.

“This is better than a commercial, isn’t it?” Odelson asked at one point during the hearing.

“It’s actually cheaper,” Emanuel responded of the attention.

Continue reading here: Chico concedes mayor’s race to Emanuel

No Daley on the ballot as Chicago votes for mayor – Forbes

Chicago voters are braving icy weather to cast ballots in a mayoral election that will end the long reign of retiring Mayor Richard M. Daley and bring certain change to city politics.

Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel shook hands with commuters outside a South Side train stop Tuesday. He has been leading in polls and is hoping to get more than 50 percent of the votes cast Tuesday and to avoid an April runoff with the second-place vote-getter

Emanuel’s primary challengers are former Chicago public schools president Gery Chico, former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun and City Clerk Miguel del Valle.

Daley will have been mayor for 22 years when he leaves office. His father, Richard J. Daley, was Chicago’s mayor for 21 years.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Continue reading here: No Daley on the ballot as Chicago votes for mayor – Forbes

Emanuel Triumphs in Chicago Mayoral Race

Mr. Emanuel, who will take office in May, won 55 percent of the vote against five other candidates. That allowed him to avoid a one-on-one runoff election in April that had been seen by some opponents as their best chance to defeat Mr. Emanuel. With 95 percent of precincts reporting, his closest competitor, Gery J. Chico, a former chief of staff to Mr. Daley, got 24 percent of the vote.

“Tonight we are moving forward the only way we truly can — together as one city with one future,” Mr. Emanuel told a crowd at a union hall west of downtown.

Mr. Emanuel, 51, is known to nearly everyone here — less, perhaps, for his years as a congressman from the North Side than for his ties to President Obama, a fellow Chicagoan whom he served as White House chief of staff. Mr. Obama congratulated Mr. Emanuel on Tuesday evening, saying, “As a Chicagoan and a friend, I couldn’t be prouder.”

Some voters here have viewed the connection as both an affirmation to support Mr. Emanuel and as a potential advantage for Chicago in its future dealings with Washington.

As the next mayor of this city, the nation’s third largest, Mr. Emanuel faces significant obstacles. He must cope with staggering unfunded pension liabilities, as well as a budget deficit around $600 million, by some estimates. Easy fixes — like the proceeds of privatization deals of the city’s parking meters — have already been used. Meanwhile, the city’s population of 2.69 million is smaller than it was a decade ago, unhappy news for a new mayor who would wish to see a growing tax base.

“There are no more rabbits to pull out of the hat,” said Joe Moore, an alderman from the North Side for the last 20 years, referring to the city’s budget of about $6 billion. “What is left for the next mayor and the next City Council is a series of bad choices — cutting services, perhaps raising taxes and fees.”

A Daley (the current mayor or his father, Richard J., who operated with a similarly tight control) has run this city for 42 of the past 55 years, and Mr. Emanuel, the city’s first Jewish mayor, is likely to be compared with that family’s legacy at every turn.

Among the questions certain to arise: How does he now handle the city’s 50 aldermen, some of whose political careers were owed to the current mayor and others who pressed for Mr. Emanuel’s opponents? How may he push to change city workers’ pensions, a system he has described as unsustainable? And how does he soothe differences that arose during a tense campaign — differences with public-sector unions that endorsed Mr. Chico and with African-American leaders who backed Carol Moseley Braun, the first black woman in the United States Senate?

City voting officials said the election had drawn a smaller turnout than they had anticipated. Along with Mr. Chico and Ms. Braun, who was winning 8.8 percent of the vote Tuesday night, Mr. Emanuel defeated Miguel del Valle, the city clerk, who got 9.4 percent; Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins, 1.6 percent; and William Walls, 0.9 percent.

Mr. Emanuel — who has spent plenty of time working behind the scenes for other politicians, including Mayor Daley and President Bill Clinton — has long been known for his tough-guy methods of negotiating, his harsh, blunt retorts, and his use of four-letter words. But over the last five months, in his own campaign, Mr. Emanuel showed a far more reserved side. That left some here wondering which Mr. Emanuel — fierce or muted — may next appear, with the campaign over and the governing ahead.

Mr. Emanuel had long suggested that he would love to be the mayor of Chicago, his birthplace. But his immediate road to City Hall began last September, when Mayor Daley stunned this city and announced he would not seek a seventh term. That meant the first mayoral election in 64 years without a sitting mayor on the ballot, and a huge crop of would-be candidates emerged from seemingly every political rank.

In October, Mr. Emanuel left his post as White House chief of staff to return to Chicago for a run, and the number of candidates quickly began shrinking. In the months that followed, he would raise some $13 million and campaign at more than 100 neighborhood L stations, 229 neighborhood stops and 20 schools.

In the end, the effort — far more elaborate and expensive than his five opponents’ — spared him from a runoff in April. Some opponents had viewed that second race — a head-to-head race with only one candidate — as the only chance of defeating Mr. Emanuel.

After Mr. Chico spoke on the telephone to Mr. Emanuel on Tuesday evening, Mr. Chico told his supporters that he had pledged his support, from here on out, to Mr. Emanuel’s efforts for Chicago. “Let’s all work together to get behind the new mayor,” Mr. Chico told a subdued group during his brief concession speech, “and make this the best city on the face of the earth.”

At points in the campaign, Mr. Emanuel’s inevitability faltered over a seemingly simple question: Was he really a resident of Chicago? Critics challenged him, saying his time at the White House meant he failed to meet a requirement that candidates live in Chicago for the year immediately before Election Day. The Illinois Supreme Court found that he was allowed to run — he had never lost legal residency at his North Side home, the justices found — but not before the issue became a major drama here, with election workers, at one point, urgently halting the printing of ballots.

If the residency battle ultimately drew sympathy to Mr. Emanuel, it also raised a question that his opponents had quietly pressed on all along: Was he a true, die-hard Chicagoan the way Mr. Daley — an avid White Sox fan and a constant, if gruff cheerleader for his city — was a Chicagoan? Mr. Emanuel spent part of his youth in the northern suburbs, in addition to his working time in Washington — details regularly noted by his critics.

But voters who chose him on Tuesday seemed to dismiss the question. “Who cares if he lived on the North Shore?” said Ben Fogel, a social worker who said he was voting for Mr. Emanuel. “I have family there, and it is close enough.” The distinction was silly now, his supporters said, a nonissue in a post-Daley world.

Continue reading here: Emanuel Triumphs in Chicago Mayoral Race

Sources: If New York Knicks get Carmelo Anthony, New Jersey Nets may get 2 Knicks

Even if the New Jersey Nets do not acquire Carmelo Anthony, they still might pull off a trade with the Denver Nuggets, one that would likely be a sore spot for their cross-river rivals in New York, according to high-ranking league officials.

Scott Van Pelt’s Chris Sheridan talks about where negotiations are between the Nuggets and Knicks for Carmelo Anthony. Plus, comments on Isiah Thomas consulting for the Knicks.

More Podcasts »

If the New York Knicks send Danilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler and Timofey Mozgov to Denver for Anthony, the Nets are in discussions to then acquire either Gallinari, Felton or Chandler plus Mozgov for two first-round draft picks.

That deal is obviously contingent upon the Knicks trading all those players to Denver for a package headlined by Anthony and Chauncey Billups.

The Nets remain confident that they can acquire Anthony before the deadline, but if he instead is obtained by the Knicks, they see this trade as an alternative way to strengthen their team, the sources said.

The move could also burn the Knicks, who are reluctant to part with so many of their coveted young prospects, even for a player of Anthony’s ability. To see a couple of them opening the Nets’ new arena in Brooklyn could certainly be bothersome to the Knicks’ franchise.

Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni says he’s “ready for anything” as the deadline nears and the trade scenarios keep swirling.

“I think everybody is waiting the next three days to see what happens, see the cosmetics, see if it’s big,” he said Monday. “We’re ready for anything but we do business as usual. We’re preparing for Milwaukee.”

Asked if he favored trading for Anthony while giving up three starters, D’Antoni said: “We could sit here, debate all day, but I’m not going to do it. It’s just not worth it.”

Although league rules generally preclude packaging players for two months after they are acquired via trade, Denver can package players acquired from New York in a subsequent trade with New Jersey if the players involved are sent to the Nets in separate but simultaneous smaller deals before Thursday’s 3 p.m. ET trade deadline.

One example: New Jersey could trade Troy Murphy to the Nuggets as a trade exception that Denver would generate by the trade of Billups to New York. The Nets, then, would accept multiple players from Denver whose aggregated salaries are less than Murphy’s. There are other combinations possible for the Nuggets and Nets to make two separate trades to satisfy league rules and convey the former Knicks to New Jersey.

Sources confirmed to a Friday report from the Bergen (N.J.) Record that New Jersey has agreed in principle to send prized rookie Derrick Favors, former All-Star guard Devin Harris, Murphy (and his expiring contract), Ben Uzoh and four first-round picks to Denver for Anthony, Billups, Shelden Williams, Melvin Ely and Renaldo Balkman. As reported Thursday night, Denver would then use at least one of those future first-round picks to package with Murphy — either in this trade or in a separate deal — to a third team yet to be determined.

That deal is contingent on Anthony signing a three-year, $65 million extension to remain in New Jersey long-term.

But the Nuggets are currently embroiled in talks with New York, Anthony’s preferred destination. The Knicks are willing to send Gallinari, Chandler, Felton and a first-round pick to Denver, but the Nuggets are pushing for Mozgov, a 7-foot center, to be included in the package.

Landing Mozgov (and then trading him to New Jersey) would be a huge coup for Denver, since it would enable it to get the draft picks it desires, along with some of the Knicks’ young talent, along with a savings of roughly $20 million this season.

Felton (2005, No. 5 by Bobcats), Chandler (2007, 23rd by Knicks) and Gallinari (2008, sixth by Knicks) are all former first-round picks. Mozgov, a former six-year pro in his native Russia, was signed as a free agent in July.

Anthony, meanwhile, was excused from the Nuggets’ practice Monday night because he was in Burbank, Calif., taping a segment on “Conan.”

Team spokesman Tim Gelt told The Associated Press that Anthony’s absence was excused. Late Monday afternoon, Anthony tweeted: “Headed to Burbank to film THE CONAN SHOW.”

Chris Broussard is a senior NBA writer for ESPN The Magazine. Information from senior NBA writer Marc Stein and The Associated Press was included.

Follow Chris Broussard on Twitter: @chris_broussard

Continue reading here: Sources: If New York Knicks get Carmelo Anthony, New Jersey Nets may get 2 Knicks