By Joseph Weber, The Washington Times
Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel cleared two big obstacles Thursday in his bid to qualify as a candidate for Chicago mayor.
The city’s Board of Election Commissioners ruled that Mr. Emanuel meets the residency requirements for the Feb. 22 election and should be on the ballot. The three-member board voted unanimously based on a hearing officer’s overnight recommendation that stated that Mr. Emanuel appears to meet the requirements and his objectors failed to meet the burden of proof to disqualify him.
Candidates are required to live in the city for one year before taking office.
Richard Cowen, the Republican on the commission, said Mr. Emanuel always intended to move back to Chicago, and his intent was the most important issue in the case.
“Rahm Emanuel said he was coming back to Chicago,” Mr. Cowen said. “The issue is not whether he was appointed chief of staff. The issue is whether he abandoned his residency. … That’s the test we have to apply.”
Still, Mr. Emanuel, a Democrat and Chicago native leading in the polls, likely will face court challenges before getting a clear path toward winning the seat of retiring Mayor Richard M. Daley, a Democrat.
Those who object to the board’s decision can appeal to the Cook County Circuit Court. The Illinois Supreme Court likely will issue the final ruling.
Burt Odelson, a major objector, said he already has prepared an appeal and that he expects the case to reach the state’s highest court within five weeks.
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