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Associated Press, Published January 24 2011

Court: Emanuel's name can't be on mayoral ballot

CHICAGO — An Illinois Appeals Court ruled Monday that former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel's name can't appear on the ballot for Chicago mayor because he didn't live in the city in the year before the election.

The court threw Emanuel's candidacy into doubt a month before the race when it voted 2-1 to overturn a judge's ruling to keep his name on the Feb. 22 ballot. Emanuel had been considered the front runner and had raised more money than any of the other candidates running.

Those challenging Emanuel's candidacy have argued that the Democrat doesn't meet the one-year residency requirement because he rented out his Chicago home and moved his family to Washington to work for President Barack Obama for nearly two years.

Emanuel has said he always intended to return to Chicago and was only living in Washington at the request of the president.

"We conclude that the candidate neither meets the municipal code's requirement that he have resided in Chicago for the year preceding the election in which he seeks to participate nor falls within any exception to the requirement," the appeals court said in its ruling. One judge dissented, saying Emanuel should be on the ballot.

There was no immediate response from Emanuel on Monday. The appellate court's ruling is not the final step in the process and its decision can be appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court.

Emanuel is one of several candidates vying to replace Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, who didn't seek a seventh term. Emanuel moved back to Chicago in October after he quit working for Obama to campaign full-time.

Before Monday's ruling, attorney Burt Odelson, who represents two voters objecting to Emanuel's candidacy, had little luck trying to keep Emanuel off the ballot. The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners and a Cook County judge have both ruled in favor of Emanuel, a former congressman, saying he didn't abandon his Chicago residency when he went to work at the White House.

Odelson had said he planned to take the challenge all the way to the state Supreme Court, if necessary.

"I won," Odelson said.


Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.