CHICAGO – Mayor Richard M. Daley won a sixth term Tuesday, overcoming a City Hall corruption scandal and putting himself on course to eclipse his legendary father’s record as the city’s longest-serving mayor.
Serving out another full four-year term would keep him on the job for 22 years. His father, Richard J. Daley, died in office in 1976 at age 74, having served 21 years.
After voting near his home on the city’s South Side, Daley, 64, shrugged off questions about setting the mayoral record.
“You don’t run for office just to be there and say ‘I beat a record,’ ” said Daley, first elected in 1989. “You really want to accomplish things.”
Daley’s lesser-known challengers in the nonpartisan election – Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown and William “Dock” Walls, an aide to the late Mayor Harold Washington – had hoped to deny Daley that milestone.
With 86 percent of precincts reporting, Daley had 72 percent of the vote. He had 280,820 votes, compared with 76,808 for Brown and 33,613 for Walls.
Daley, first elected in 1989, had been expected to collect more than 50 percent of the vote, avoiding an April runoff.
His opponents tried to make an issue of corruption and the federal investigation that started with bribes paid to city officials for trucking work and expanded to City Hall hiring practices.
Daley has not been accused of any wrongdoing, but the investigation has snagged dozens of people, including his former patronage chief and a former city clerk.
The mayor has blamed the wrongdoing on a “few bad apples” and points to his efforts at retooling the city’s hiring system and limiting fundraising.