Yesterday, the Illinois Appellate Court declared that former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel did not satisfy Chicago residency criteria, which would’ve allowed him to run for mayor of the city. The ruling shocked many (Emanuel included), as popular opinion was mistakenly held, even by some AgencySpy commenters, that Emanuel had already proved residency, and his name would appeal on the mayoral ballot. America’s endless appeals system wins again.
While Emanuel and company have ample time before the Feb. 22 mayoral election to get the Illinois State Supreme Court to overturn the ruling, early voting opens in the city in less than a week on Jan. 31. If Emanuel’s name doesn’t appeal on the early voting ballot, his campaign is in quite a bit of trouble, and donors will not be happy. As his people scramble to get the high court to reverse the ruling, Emanuel is reaching out to his supporters via the internet, asking them to vote online and offer their e-signature to a campaign trying to get Rahm’s name back on the ballot. Locally-marketed websites like Chicagoist are being covered with “Your Opinion Counts” flash banner ads. But, will this digital campaign help convince the Illinois Supreme Court that Emanuel can run?
For those wondering why Emanuel’s duty to the federal government made him lose Chicago residency while part of the Obama administration, the law states that he may still vote in elections in his hometown, but it says nothing about his eligibility to run for office. As Emanuel was sitting comfortably in the lead with polls predicting 44 percent of the vote going his way, Former Sen.Carol Moseley Braun, with 21 percent support, is looking to gain some of Emanuel’s supporters. However, most believe that former school chief Gerry Chico with 16 percent tallied will benefit the most should Emanuel stay off the ballot.
Update: The New York Times is reporting that the Illinois Supreme Court just ordered Emanuel’s name back onto the ballot. The Court also agreed to hear the case on an expedited basis, nullifying the validity of 300,000 ballots without Emanuel’s name that had been printed by noon.