- Associated Press - Monday, December 27, 2010

CHICAGO (AP) — Mayor Richard M. Daley on Sunday surpassed his father’s tenure, becoming Chicago’s longest-serving chief executive.

Mr. Daley as of Sunday has served 7,917 days in office, or 21 years and eight months. That’s one day more than his father, Richard J. Daley, who died in office in 1976.

Mr. Daley announced earlier this year that he would retire and not run for a seventh term.

When he leaves office next spring, he will have served about five months longer than his father. Between them, the Daleys have been in charge in Chicago for 42 of the past 55 years.

Mr. Daley, 68, told reporters last week that he believed his father was the city’s greatest mayor.

“My father. The son will always say, ‘It’s the father,’” Mr. Daley said.

Edward Bedore was budget director for both Daleys.

“One was a builder,” Mr. Bedore told the Chicago Sun-Times. “The other completed the house.”

Richard J. Daley was 53 when he was elected mayor in 1955. The Sears Tower, now known as the Willis Tower, was built while he was in office, along with McCormick Place convention center and the modern O’Hare International Airport.

Richard M. Daley built on his father’s efforts by overseeing a widespread project to green Chicago and make the city more environmentally friendly. He saw Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears, redesigned and the downtown Millennium Park created.

The current mayor, who first was elected in 1989 at age 47, was shaped by his father’s experiences but has his own vision for the city, DePaul University political scientist Larry Bennett told the Chicago Tribune.

“He travels all over, bringing the best of what he finds back to Chicago,” Mr. Bennett said.

Chicago scholar James Grossman, who is executive director of the American Historical Association, told the Chicago Tribune that the Daleys were “most similar in their love for the city.”

“They wanted nothing other than to be mayor of Chicago,” Mr. Grossman said.


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