Rahm Emanuel's residency dilemma may be good news for the other mayoral hopefuls.
The former White House chief of staff is expected to take the stand Tuesday to prove that he remained a Chicago resident while working in Washington. His aspirations to become mayor of Chicago could depend on it.
The bump in the road could mean smooth sailings for the other mayoral hopefuls.
Miguel del Valle, the city clerk with more than three decades experience in local politics; Rev. Wilfredo de Jesús, a minister and commissioner of the city's Zoning Board of Appeals; and Gery Chico, who was outgoing Mayor Richard Daley's chief of staff and chair of the City Colleges of Chicago are the Latino candidates vying for the job.
Now, Rahm Emanuel will have to sit in a room in the bowels of a government building and answer questions from lawyers and city residents who don't want him to run. He faces hours of questioning from lawyers and some of the more than two dozen people without lawyers who challenged his mayoral bid.
Paul Green, a political scientist at Roosevelt University, said the hearing on Emanuel's residency has the potential for "a lot of lunacy."
"It very easily could become a kangaroo court," Green said.
Emanuel is fighting to stay on the Feb. 22 ballot in a crowded race to replace Daley, who isn't seeking a seventh term.
Opponents argue Emanuel isn't eligible to be mayor because he lived in Washington for nearly two years before coming back to Chicago to run for mayor in October. He's expected to be the first person to testify when the hearing officer for the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners begins listening to evidence, and those who object to his name being on the ballot will get to question him personally.
Emanuel and his lawyers claim he didn't forfeit his residency when he left Chicago. Among other things, the lawyers contend the Emanuel family continued to keep important personal items at their home, including his wife's wedding dress, the clothes his children wore home from the hospital after they were born and their school report cards. They have stressed he always intended to return.
"I own a home here in the city of Chicago," Emanuel told reporters during a campaign stop. "My car is licensed here in the city of Chicago. I pay property taxes here in the city of Chicago. I vote in the city of Chicago."
Based on reporting by the Associated Press.