Rahm Emanuel handily won the Chicago mayoral election today, getting more than the “50 percent plus one vote” needed to avoid an April 5 runoff election.

With 98 percent of Chicago precincts reporting at 10 p.m., Emanuel leads with 55.1 percent, followed by Gery Chico with 24.1 percent, Miguel del Valle with 9.3 percent, Carol Moseley Braun with 8.9 percent, Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins with 1.6 percent, and William “Dock” Walls with 0.9 percent.

Personally, I’m glad Emanuel won as big as he did. Before any votes were even cast, it was obvious that Emanuel was destined to succeed Richard M. Daley as mayor of Chicago. Therefore, I hoped Emanuel would just get his election over with and avoid a runoff so the rest of us would be spared two more months of¬†the candidates taking shots at each other through attack ads and the media.

Emanuel’s big win also means Rahm has an additional two months to concentrate¬†on solving Chicago’s problems instead of worrying about campaigning. Emanuel has some tough decisions ahead of him, as Chicago is in bad financial shape (no surprise at a time when that’s the norm in states and cities across the country). He also may be in a no-win situation. If he doesn’t make headway into fixing the city’s problems, he probably won’t be re-elected four years from now. The way I see it, he likely will have to make some unpopular decisions in order to start the repair work, so even if he does his job as well as he can, he still may not get re-elected.

Good luck, Rahm– you’re going to need it.