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Gabrielle Levy/MEDILL

Miguel del Valle speaks to media after his concession speech Tuesday night.

Del Valle: 'They were disgusted. They're tired. They don't see a real opportunity for change'

by Gabrielle Levy
Feb 22, 2011

Braun election

Gabrielle Levy/MEDILL

Carol Moseley Braun concedes Tuesday. 

It was an early night in the race for Chicago mayor, with the Chicago Board of Elections Commission announcing a decisive victory for Rahm Emanuel shortly after polls closed at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Opponents Gery Chico, Miguel del Valle, and Carol Moseley Braun conceded defeat with speeches that congratulated the mayor-elect, but promised to hold the new administration to account for the issues important to all Chicagoans.

With more than 99 percent of precincts reporting, Emanuel received 55.22 percent of the vote, followed by Chico with 24 percent. Del Valle took 9.29 percent, trailed narrowly by Braun with 8.95 percent; Patricia Van-Pelt Watkins earned 1.64 percent and William "Doc" Walls had 0.9 percent.

Overall turnout was lower than anticipated, with only 41 percent of the 1.4 million registered voters casting ballots in Tuesday's election or in early voting. Early reports, buoyed by record-high early voting, had suggested that as much as 50 percent turnout had been expected.

The third-place finisher, del Valle, accounted for lower-than-anticipated turnout to a lack of hope on the part of some Chicagoans.

"Why didn't they vote?" del Valle asked the packed housed that turned out at the Revolution Brewpub in Logan Square. "They were disgusted. They're tired. They don't see a real opportunity for change."

Del Valle, who pledged to continue to press his campaign's progressive agenda from outside city government, challenged Emanuel to take up those same issues.

"Now [Emanuel] must govern the city of Chicago," del Valle said. "I strongly urge Rahm Emanuel, given that during our campaign we felt we were helping to set an agenda from the very beginning, and by the end of the campaign a lot of the other candidates were agreeing with me, it is important that the neighborhoods agenda we talked about is adopted by the next administration."

Unlike del Valle, who told WGN that he would not be an employee of the city and intended to press his agenda "outside the system," runner-up Chico made himself available to the future Emanuel administration.

"Whatever he needs me to do, I am a phone call away," Chico told his supporters at the Westin River North, "because this is our city, and we all love our city."

While offering his services to the city, Chico spoke of the varied support he received from across Chicago. "We were able to begin building a coalition around this city with ethnic groups, the Latino community, the African American community, labor, working men and women," he said.

Braun, who finished in fourth place after polling for most of the campaign in third ahead of del Valle, acknowledged that the loss was painful.

Speaking to a small crowd that included US Rep. Danny Davis at the Parkway Ballroom in Bronzeville on the South Side, Braun said she intended to continue to make the case to people that their votes make a difference.

"I believe that hope springs eternal," she said. "We will try to continue to inspire people, to try to get them engaged and involved in politics."

"It didn't happen for us, but that's not to say it won't happen for someone, someday," she said. "Somewhere out there, there's someone who has a vision of government being inclusive, including everyone, excluding no one. And maybe that is what will happen now."