Rahm Emanuel can expect to face big budget deficits and city pension problems as the new mayor of Chicago.
The former White House chief of staff coasted to victory Tuesday night in the Windy City's mayoral election, defeating five rivals with 55 percent of the vote.
He succeeds Mayor Richard M. Daley at the helm of the third-largest city in America. Daley is retiring after 22 years in office as the longest-serving mayor in Chicago's history.
Emanuel served as President Obama's chief of staff till last fall when he resigned to enter Chicago's mayoral race.
"Tonight, we are moving forward in the only way we truly can - together, as one city with one future," Emanuel said in his victory speech Tuesday night. "The real work of building a better future begins tonight, and I intend to enlist … every one of you in our city."
Between budget deficits and pension trouble, Chicago could face a $1 billion shortfall. The problems range from an understaffed police department to underperforming schools.
"Not since the Great Depression have the finances of the city been this precarious," said Dominic Pacyga, a historian and author of "Chicago: A Biography."
Throughout the campaign, Emanuel acknowledged he would have to make budget cuts and promised to be as fair as possible, starting with his own office.
Emanuel said he can save $110 million by streamlining "outdated and duplicative work processes to focus on front-line service delivery," according to his campaign. His campaign did not use the word "layoffs," but it did allude to "reducing layers of management bureaucracy and consolidating redundant tasks."
"What comes next is a bunch of ugly," said Ralph Martire, executive director of the bipartisan Center for Tax and Budget Accountability. "It's going to be a brutal budget year, and there are not quick and easy fixes."
Emanuel will take office May 16.