Rahm Emanuel, the former White House chief of staff who had been the overwhelming favorite in the Chicago mayoral election, has been taken off the ballot, court officials said – creating an opening for the Latino candidates in the race.
An Illinois Appeals Court ruled that Emanuel's name can't be on the ballot because of residency issues, overruling the Chicago Board of Election and a Cook County judge.
The primary to replace to longtime mayor Richard Daley is scheduled for Feb. 22.
The court ruled 2-1 to overrule the earlier decision. The Associated Press reported that a lawyer for Emanuel will appeal the ruling.
The decision to kick Emanuel – who had raised the most money, had been leading in polls and carried the most name recognition in the race – off the ballot creates an opening for the remaining candidates, including the two viable Latino hopefuls vying for the job.
"It looked like money was going to decide this election," City Clerk Miguel del Valle said. "The voters now have a rare opportunity to shape this city's future."
A spokeswoman for Gery Chico, a former chief of staff to Mayor Daley, said in a statement that the Rahm decision would not affect his campaign.
'Today's news is a surprise but it will not impact how we run our campaign," said Brooke Anderson. "Gery will continue to work for every vote and lay out his plans to take Chicago in a whole new direction."
A Chicago Tribune/WGN poll in December found that Emanuel, who also got a big ticket endorsement from former President Bill Clinton, was most popular among Hispanics in the city. Twenty-seven percent of Latinos supported Emanuel, while only 14 and 12 percent supported del Valle and Chico, respectively.
But now the door is wide open for the votes of the city's Hispanic voters. Latinos make up 15 percent of Chicago's 1.5 million registered voters.
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