Richard M. Daley won the mayoral job that his father dominated for 21 years and celebrated his victory by urging his opponents and the City Council "to rise above politics and get our city moving."
With more than 96.8 percent of the vote counted in Tuesday's racially divisive election, Daley led indepdendent black Alderman Timothy Evans by 55.6 percent to 40.9 percent. Republican Edward R. Vrdolyak, the one-time chairman of the Democratic Party of Cook County, captured an embarrassing 3.5 percent of the vote."If today's vote meant anything, it meant the people of Chicago want to rise above the politics and get our city moving," Daley declared, claiming victory late Tuesday. "They sent a clear and unmistakable mandate today. They want action not acrimony. The meaning of today's vote is the people of Chicago want to move forward, not back."
Daley, whose father, Richard J. Daley, built an invincible political machine that kept him in the mayor's office for more than two decades, called on his opponents and the City Council to work with him to address the city's problems.
"Our hope was to get a clear majority," Daley spokesman David Axelrod said. "Never did we anticipate it would be that large."
Tuesday's balloting was to fill the remainder of the term of the late Mayor Harold Washington. Daley will be up for re-election in 1991.
The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners said only 68 percent of the city's nearly 1.6 million voters cast ballots.
The lower-than-expected turnout - especially in the city's black wards - was attributed in part to the bitter Democratic primary. Evans, initially a primary candidate, dropped out of the contest to run as an independent but refused to back Acting Mayor Eugene Sawyer. As a result Daley defeated Sawyer, becoming the first white politician to unseat a presiding black mayor in a major U.S. city.