Mon January 24, 2011
It's All Politics

Rahm Emanuel Ineligible To Run For Chicago Mayor: Court

Rahm Emanuel's attempt to be the next mayor of Chicago hit a major snag Monday when the Illinois Appeals Court ruled that he can't be on the ballot for the Feb. 22 primary.

The decision is a serious if not fatal blow to President Obama's former White House chief of staff who left that post last year to run for mayor. It can be appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court.

But it is the first significant reversal in Emanuel's effort to become mayor. As we've reported before, both a lower court and the Board of Election Commissioners had ruled in Emanuel's favor that he met the city residency requirement to run.

His opponents, however, said Emanuel was not eligible since he did not live in the city for the required year before the primary.

Emanuel argued that he and his family may not have physically resided in the city but that he continued to own a home in the city and always planned to return.

He further successfully argued before the lower court that he was covered by a law often applied to those in the military that he maintained his residency because his absence from Chicago was related to the "business of the U.S."

The court said that provision of Illinois law meant that while Emanuel maintained his eligibility to vote, he was still ineligible under the municipal code to have his name on the official ballot. The state vappeals court ruling was the result of a 2-1 split vote.

Until Monday's ruling, Emanuel's bid had an air of inevitability. Former President Bill Clinton, whose White House he also worked in, was in Chicago last week campaigning for his former staffer.

Emanuel had also raised the most money of any of the Democratic candidates for mayor.

But his return to Chicago had caused resentment among politicians who saw the imminent retirement of long-time Mayor Richard M. Daley as their chance to gain an office that had been essentially out of play for decades. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.