Rahm Emanuel scored another victory today in the battle to keep his name on the ballot in the Chicago Mayor's race.
A Cook County Circuit Court judge ruled Tuesday that Emanuel, former White House Chief of Staff, is eligible to run for mayor of Chicago, thus his name can appear on the ballot in the February 22 election. The judge confirmed the decision issued from the Chicago Board of Elections Commissioner two weeks ago.
All the fuss is focused on whether Rahm Emanuel was a resident of the city of Chicago for a full year prior to election day, as required by Illinois law.
After moving to Washington, DC to serve as President Obama's Chief of Staff, Emanuel rented out his Chicago home in mid-2009, but he says he always intended to return to Chicago. He resigned as the president's Chief of Staff and moved back to the Windy City in October of 2010.
While arguing the case in court Tuesday, one of Emanuel's attorneys told the judge after the 2008 Presidential Election, Barack Obama, David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel all left Chicago to move to Washington and serve their country. "The only difference is that Emanuel intended to be gone for 18 months, Obama, eight years, and Axelrod, somewhere in between."
In his ruling, Circuit Court Judge Mark Ballard wrote, "We agree with the Board's [Chicago Board of Elections] finding that service in the Executive Office of the President satisfies the statutory requirement that it be "business of the United States." We find, therefore, there was sufficient evidence to support the Board's conclusion that the Candidate's residency was maintained while he was serving the President as Chief of Staff."
After the ruling, Rahm Emanuel said in a statement, "The Board of Elections and the court have both now concluded what I have said all along - that the only reason I left town was to serve President Obama and that I always intended to return. Now that these decisions have been reached, Chicago voters should have the right to decide the election and to vote for me or against me."
But if you thought this story ends here, guess again. Attorney Burt Oldeson intends to appeal today's Circuit Court ruling to the Appellate Court as early as tomorrow and, if necessary, he plans to appeal this case all the way to the Illinois Supreme Court. Stay tuned.