The former White House chief of staff has nearly 55% of the vote with 88% of precincts reporting. Former Board of Education president Gery Chico is in second place with 24%, city clerk Miguel del Valle has 9% and longtime civil rights advocate and former U.S. senator Carol Moseley Braun is in fourth with 8% of the vote.
Longtime LGBT ally Richard M. Daley decided in September not to seek reelection as mayor.
Emanuel, a former congressman from Illinois, stepped down as White House chief of staff last year to prepare his run. He has been endorsed by Equality Illinois PAC and the Human Rights Campaign. ChicagoPride.com reported Tuesday morning, "Emanuel, who received the endorsement of over 200 LGBT community leaders and advocates including openly gay state Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) and state Rep. Deborah Mell (D-Chicago), has approached 50 percent in opinion polls but his numbers have since dropped in recent polling."
The city's only openly gay alderman, Tom Tunney, ran unopposed for reelection in the 44th ward, winning a third term. The city council may have another openly gay member after the April 5 runoff election. In the 46th ward, where incumbent Helen Shiller is retiring, there were 11 candidates, three of them gay; one of the latter, James Cappleman, appears headed for a runoff. He had 19.6% of the vote as of Wednesday morning, as did one of the straight candidates, Mary Anne Phelan, so they are expected to face off in April.