Rahm Emanuel has won the first round in a challenge to his eligibility
to run for Chicago mayor, with the city’s election board ruling to keep
him on the ballot after hearings on questions about his residency, the Chicago Tribune reports.
who has both supporters and detractors among gay Chicagoans, had moved
to Washington, D.C., and rented out his Chicago home when he served as
chief of staff to President Obama, beginning in 2009. He resigned that
post in October to run for mayor.
City election commissioners
voted 3-0 Thursday to allow Emanuel to stay on the ballot for mayor. In
recommending that they do so, hearing officer Joseph Morris wrote that
Emanuel had not “abandoned his status” as a Chicago resident when he worked for Obama. “In any
event,” Morris continued, “his absence from Illinois during that time
in question is excused, for purposes of the safeguarding and retention
of his status as a resident and elector, by express operation of
Objectors to Emanuel’s candidacy have a week to
appeal the election commissioners’ decision to the Cook County circuit
court, and the case could go as far as the Illinois supreme court. Burt
Odelson, lead attorney for the objectors, said he had the appeal ready
to file and would ask the courts to expedite the case. He expects the
process to take about a month in total.
The nonpartisan election
to replace retiring mayor Richard M. Daley will be February 22, with a
runoff April 5 if no candidate wins a majority.
activists have doubts about Emanuel because they believe he encouraged
President Obama to go slowly in addressing LGBT issues and because of
his record as an aide to President Clinton during the enactment of the
Defense of Marriage Act and “don’t ask, don’t tell” — the latter of
which was repealed this week. Supporters point to his pro-gay record as
a three-term congressman and his work for Obama’s gay-friendly
initiatives, including an order to allow hospital visitation by
patients’ same-sex partners.