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Ill. high court clears way for Emanuel’s mayoral run in Chicago

Rahm Emanuel had been taken off the ballot after an appeals court ruling that said he didn’t meet residency requirements. Rahm Emanuel had been taken off the ballot after an appeals court ruling that said he didn’t meet residency requirements.
By Don Babwin and Deanna Bellandi
Associated Press / January 28, 2011

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CHICAGO — The Illinois Supreme Court put Rahm Emanuel back on the ballot for Chicago mayor yesterday, reviving his campaign to lead the country’s third-largest city.

The former White House chief of staff was thrown off the Feb. 22 ballot by an Illinois appellate court for not meeting a residency requirement because he had not lived in Chicago for a year before the race. The Supreme Court ruled unanimously in his favor.

Emanuel lived in Washington for nearly two years while working for President Obama, until he moved back to Chicago in October to run for mayor.

Emanuel, who has said he always intended to return to Chicago and was only living in Washington at the request of the president, had asked the Supreme Court to overturn the appeals court ruling. Within minutes of the ruling, Emanuel was at a downtown Chicago public transit station shaking hands with residents.

He never stopped campaigning as the controversy evolved. His spokesman said Emanuel was en route to the campaign appearance when he got word of the ruling.

In their appeal, Emanuel’s lawyers called the appeals court ruling “one of the most far-reaching election law rulings’’ ever issued in Illinois, because of its effect on the mayoral race and for “the unprecedented restriction’’ it puts on future candidates.

The lawyers raised several points, including that the appeals court applied a stricter definition of residency than the one used for voters. They said Illinois courts have never required candidates to be physically present in the state to seek office there.

In its ruling, the Supreme Court called the appeals court’s basis for deciding Emanuel could not be on the ballot “without any foundation in Illinois law.’’

The mayoral race and Emanuel’s campaign had been thrown into disarray after the appeals court ruling on Monday. The following day, the state Supreme Court ordered Chicago elections officials to stop printing ballots without Emanuel’s name on them. The election officials said they had printed nearly 300,000 ballots without Emanuel’s name before they abruptly stopped.

Emanuel has been the heavy favorite to win the election and has raised more money than any of the other candidates vying to replace Richard M. Daley, who announced he was retiring after more than two decades as mayor.

After the appeals court ruling, Emanuel had been pressing ahead with confidence and said was doubling his campaign by adding more stops to his schedule. The other main candidates in the race — former senator Carol Moseley Braun, city clerk Miguel del Valle, and former Chicago schools chief Gery Chico — moved quickly to try to win over Emanuel supporters.

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