The former chief of staff to retiring Mayor Richard M. Daley bounced between second and third place in polls throughout the campaign. He vowed to force a runoff against Rahm Emanuel, but his efforts fell short when Emanuel eclipsed 50 percent.
"I pledge my full support to Rahm Emanuel," Chico said in his concession speech.
That's a shocking turn of events for a candidate who thought he had a shot.
Chico broke out among mayoral candidates early in the race thanks to his experience spanning schools president to Public Building Commissioner and park district Board of Commissioners President to Daley's right-hand man.
He started his campaign saying he would cut the mayor’s pay by 20 percent and require other city managers to do the same.
Chico gained support from the Fraternal Order of Police, Firefighters Union Local 2, Latino cops and Congressman Luis Gutierrez, who said "Chico is the stronger candidate. He's been a consensus builder."
Indeed, Chico proved a consensus candidate among Greek and Latino communities, charging out of the gate with support from Manny Flores and Joe Moreno.
Earlier this year, Chico said he would find the cash to put 2,000 more cops on the streets and disputed Emanuel's proposed tax on luxury services, calling it the Rahm Tax in TV ads.
Less than two weeks before the election, Chico promised a runoff.
"We have a robust field operation," he said at a news conference in Pilsen with Ald. Danny Solis (25th). "If we're doing our jobs right there's going to be a runoff."
A Chicago Tribune poll, showed Chico with about 19 percent of the vote, the only candidate in position to challenge Emanuel in a runoff contest.