Chicago Mayor Elected To Sixth Term

Wednesday, February 28th 2007, 5:43 am
By: News On 6

CHICAGO (AP) _ Poised to surpass the tenure of his legendary father and become Chicago's longest-serving mayor, Richard M. Daley said he's not obsessing about his legacy.

``Once you start worrying about legacies, you start making decisions to make your legacy,'' Daley said after trouncing two little-known challengers to win a sixth term Tuesday. ``You get too caught up in this, 'I have to write a book, I'm worried about my legacy, I'm worried about maybe a movie, a documentary.' I think it's not worth it.''

Shaking off questions about a City Hall corruption scandal, Daley coasted to victory in the nonpartisan election over Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown and William ``Dock'' Walls, an aide to the late Mayor Harold Washington.

With 96 percent of precincts reporting early Wednesday, Daley had 311,417 votes, or 71 percent of the total, while Brown had 86,964 votes, or 20 percent, and Walls had 38,012, or 9 percent.

``I think my dad would be very proud,'' Daley said.

Daley will have served 22 years as mayor at the end of this latest term. His father, Richard J. Daley, died in office after serving 21 years.

Daley's opponents tried to make an issue of corruption and a federal investigation that began with bribes paid to city officials for trucking work and expanded to city hiring practices.

The 64-year-old Daley, who was first elected in 1989, has not been accused of wrongdoing.

The investigation has snagged dozens of people, including Daley's former patronage chief and a former city clerk. The mayor has emphasized his efforts to retool the city's hiring system and to limit fundraising, and he touted them again during his victory speech Tuesday night.

Daley's record also includes taking over Chicago's troubled school system in 1995 and the Chicago Housing Authority a few years later.

``We have come a long way,'' Daley said, but he added there is more to do to improve schools, public safety and neighborhoods with more affordable housing and jobs.

Daley said education would be a major priority this term, including a push to extend the school day.

``How are you going to compete as a country if students are going to school less every year?'' he asked.

All 50 aldermanic seats in the Chicago City Council were up for re-election Tuesday and a handful of candidates were forced into runoffs April 17.

Two former aldermen convicted of graft fell short in their bid to get their jobs back. Another alderman recently charged in a federal bribery case for allegedly taking a $5,000 payoff in a bogus building scheme was bounced out of office, according to unofficial returns.

Sandi Jackson, the wife of Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., and daughter-in-law of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, ousted an incumbent alderman, according to unofficial returns.