Chicago mayoral bid tied to residency

December 15, 2010
By Associated Press

CHICAGO | Seeking to keep his campaign for mayor on track, Rahm Emanuel told elections officials on Tuesday that when he went to work as the White House chief of staff almost two years ago, he left behind his family’s “most valuable possessions” at his Chicago home, showing he always intended to move back.

Mr. Emanuel was testifying at a Chicago Board of Election Commissioners hearing called after his residency was challenged to keep him off February’s mayoral ballot. He said he left behind baby clothes, his wife’s wedding dress, photo albums and family china. His supporters have long said these are not the kind of things anyone would simply abandon.

Mr. Emanuel talked about one of his most cherished possessions at the house – a coat his grandfather bought for his father in the 1950s.

“It’s the only possession I still have from my grandfather,” Mr. Emanuel said.

The tough-talking former congressman took the stand to defend himself against more than two dozen objectors who say he isn’t eligible to run for mayor because he lived in Washington for nearly two years while working for President Obama.

Mr. Emanuel’s attorneys dismiss challenges to his residency, saying he owns a home, pays property taxes and votes in Chicago.

Objector Paul McKinley asked the former chief of staff why he rented out his Chicago home when he worked for Mr. Obama, but not when he was a Chicago congressman.

Mr. Emanuel said the jobs were different and that real estate professionals said renting out the home would better protect its value.

The stakes couldn’t be higher for Mr. Emanuel, who left his job as Mr. Obama’s chief of staff for the chance to replace Chicago’s longtime mayor, Mayor Richard M. Daley. He has publicly described the post as his “dream job.”

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