Rahm Emanuel thumbs up 311.
(photo credit: AP Photo/Paul Beaty, File)
CHICAGO — The Illinois Supreme Court on Thursday put US President Barack Obama's former White House chief of staff back on the ballot for Chicago mayor, reviving his campaign to lead the country's third-largest city.
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Rahm Emanuel was thrown off the Feb. 22 ballot by an Illinois appellate court for not meeting a residency requirement because he hadn't lived in Chicago for a year before the race. The state Supreme Court ruled unanimously in his favor.
Emanuel lived for nearly two years in Washington working for 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 received word of the ruling and was scheduled to participate in a televised debate Thursday evening.
In their appeal, Emanuel's attorneys called Monday's appeals court
ruling "one of the most far-reaching election law rulings" ever issued
in Illinois, not only because of its effect on the mayoral race but for
"the unprecedented restriction" it puts on future candidates.
His lawyers raised several points, including that the appeals court
applied a stricter definition of "residency" than the one used for
voters. They say 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 that 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 appellate 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.
Chicago election officials said they had printed nearly 300,000 ballots
without Emanuel's name before they abruptly stopped.
Emanuel had been the heavy favorite to lead the nation's third-largest
city, and had raised more money than any of the other candidates vying
to replace Mayor Richard M. Daley, who announced he was retiring after
more than two decades as mayor.