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Emanuel on Ballot for Now

Emanuel on Ballot for Now


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.

Emanuel, 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 Illinois law."

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.

Some gay 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Clinton during the enactment of the Defense of Marriage Act and "don't ask, don't tell" -- the latter of which was repealed this week.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.

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