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Emanuel in lead to be Chicago Mayor

Voters in Chicago were choosing a successor to longtime Mayor Richard Daley yesterday, with former White House chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel leading the pack. It was the first time in two decades that Mr Daley was not listed on the ballot.

Mr Emanuel has been the clear frontrunner in the polls and fundraising since he resigned as President Barack Obama's aide last year. But he or one of the other five candidates on the ballot must win 50 per cent of the votes plus one vote to avoid a run-off on 5 April.

The campaign began with Mr Daley's announcement last autumn that he would not seek a seventh term. This had a dramatic impact on a race that originally appeared boring, with many Chicago residents certain that the incumbent – whose father Richard J Daley was also a longtime mayor of the city – would easily outdistance whatever competitors stepped forward.

Nearly two dozen politicians, from the county sheriff to congressmen to state lawmakers to members of the city council, made noises that they were at the very least considering a bid to lead the third-largest US city.

It is now down to six candidates. Mr Emanuel is competing against former US Senator Carol Moseley Braun, former Chicago public schools president Gery Chico and city clerk Miguel del Valle. Two lesser-known candidates were trailing.