Chicago, Illinois (CNN) - Rahm Emanuel greeted voters on Chicago's South Side Wednesday morning – the day after his resounding victory to become the city's next mayor.
His choice of an "L" train station in the heart of the city's African American community symbolized his successful efforts to reach out to that community during his campaign. He captured about half of the votes in wards with large populations of African-Americans in Tuesday's election.
"I am very energized by the support we received last night throughout the city and the opportunity to turn the page and start anew with a fresh beginning on tackling the problems that face the city of Chicago," he told reporters Wednesday morning.
Several leading African-American leaders in the city, including Rev. Jesse Jackson, supported of one of Emanuel's opponents- former Illinois Senator Carol Moseley Braun. Jackson told CNN earlier this week that Emanuel did not have a good track record of supporting issues important to African Americans - a contention Emanuel dismisses.
Emanuel captured more than 55 percent of the vote in the nonpartisan election, thereby avoiding a runoff. Election turnout for Tuesday's contest is estimated at 40-45 percent - lower than expected, which possibly aided Emanuel, along with the well-funded and large campaign organization he had put into place.
Asked about his ability to reach across a city with a history of racial divisions, Emanuel said, "Do we have differences – yes. But we cannot and will not allow them to become points of division and divisive."
"What I am heartened by, energized by, and ready to tackle the problems with is that we received great support throughout the city because people know these challenges are common challenges," he said, pointing to his campaign priorities of crime, bolstering schools and stabilizing Chicago's economy - which is facing a budget deficit of at least $500 million and a shortfall of about the same amount in the city's pension system.
Emanuel will take the oath of office on May 16 replacing Richard Daley, who took office in 1989 and was the city's longest-serving mayor.