The first biography of a Chicago legend
the biography of richard m. daley
Top Ten Facts from First Son
- The Daley family has been involved in Chicago and national politics for over 90 years. Richard J. Daley ruled Chicago from 1955 until 1976. His son Richard M. Daley ruled from 1989 until 2011.
- In 1959, Richard M. Daley ran for president of his high school class at De La Salle Institute, and lost.
- It took Richard M. Daley three attempts to pass the Illinois bar exam.
- In the Cook County State’s Attorney race of 1980, Richard M. Daley ran as an “independent” Democrat rather than seeking out the support of the Chicago machine. He defeated Republican Bernard Carey, as well as Ed Burke—an old-school machine politician and Daley’s lifelong political rival.
- In 1983, Richard M. Daley was defeated in his first mayoral run by Harold Washington, who won in a very close election and became the first black mayor of a major American city.
- In the 1989 mayoral race, Richard M. Daley’s key advisors included David Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel, David Wilhelm, and Bill Daley. He received just 8% of the African-American vote. By his 2003 election, he earned 61%.
- In February 2003, Daley was re-elected with 78.5% of the vote. Just weeks later, Daley instructed workers to demolish the runway at Meigs Field airport in the middle of the night.
- Richard M. Daley was the first mayor of Chicago to voluntarily retire from office in over 85 years.
- Richard M. Daley and his successor Rahm Emanuel have a longtime supportive relationship with the usually reticent Daley describing Emanuel as the most focused and effective person he had ever worked with in public life.
- After retiring from the office of mayor, Richard M. Daley joined the law firm Katten Muchin, started an investment advisory firm with his son called Tur Partners, joined the board of directors of the Coca-Cola Company, and was appointed a distinguished senior fellow at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy Studies.