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Jesus "Chuy" Garcia Forces Incumbent Chicago Mayor Into Runoff

Lesser-known, less financed mayoral candidate Jesus "Chuy" Garcia rejoiced over his second place finish in Chicago's mayoral race, which forced incumbent Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel into the city's first mayoral runoff in its history.

"Nobody thought we'd be here tonight," Garcia told NBC Chicago. "They wrote us off; they said we didn't have a chance. They said we didn't have any money while they spent millions attacking us. Well, we're here still standing! We're still running! And we're gonna win."

Garcia, who was born in Mexico and raised in Chicago, finished with 34 percent to Emanuel's 45 percent, meaning the former chief of staff to President Barack Obama failed to get more than 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff. Three others competed in the race.

Garcia has long been involved in local politics; he has served as an alderman, state senator, a county board member and a community activist. Garcia was backed by the Teachers' Union and strongly criticized Emanuel for closing a number of underperforming schools.

Just earlier this month, Emanuel was seen as way ahead of his opponents but polls showed the race narrowing as the election neared. Garcia portrayed himself the populist taking on what he described as a more corporate-connected Emanuel, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The runoff is April 7.

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-- Suzanne Gamboa

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