The on again, off again candidacy of Rahm Emanuel in the City of Chicago Mayoral race is on again and for the last time for 2011. The Illinois Supreme Court has issued the final word on Rahm’s eligibility to run for office this time ’round and the word is that Rahm is in.
Rahm’s candidacy was challenged by Chicago attorney Burt Odelson over a stipulation in Chicago election law that states that a candidate must live in in the city for a year. Odelson pointed out that Emanuel has been living in Washington D.C. for the last two years and, therefore, did not satisfy the requirement.
Emanuel countered by reminding the court that he still owned a home in Chicago. Further Emanuel pointed out that he never changed either his voter registration or his driver’s license, both are still registered in Illinois. This, Emanuel claimed, proved that he considered himself a resident of Chicago.
Initially the Chicago Board of Elections and a lower court agreed with Emanuel. But earlier in the week an Appellate Court ruled that the two lower bodies were wrong. The Appellate Court threw Rahm off the ballot.
After this third ruling Emanuel appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court for a rush ruling. This final court sided with the first two rulings and stated in a unanimous decision that Emanuel does, indeed, qualify to be on the election ballot. In fact, the Ill. Supreme Court was so put off by the Appellate Court’s decision that a few of the justices issued a stern reply to the lower court’s ruling.
In short, the Supreme Court said the lower court’s decision was a “novel standard” without “any foundation in Illinois Law.”
Attorney Odelson said that this was the end of his case as far as he and his clients were concerned, so this decision ends the matter. Rahm Emanuel will appear on the Chicago election ballot on February 22. Early voting starts this coming Monday, so it was a timely decision for all concerned.
Of the whole episode, one of Emanuel’s opponents, Gery Chico, said “game on.” And it is, indeed, game on. Let the election games begin.