The Illinois Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel can run for mayor of Chicago.
“Given the record before us, it is simply not possible to find clearly erroneous the (Chicago Board of Elections') determination that the objectors failed to prove that the candidate had abandoned his Chicago residence. We therefore reverse the decision of the appellate court and affirm the decision of the circuit court, which confirmed the Board's decision,” the court’s ruling stated.
Some residents of Chicago challenged Emanuel's candidacy and claimed that his stay in Washington as President Barack Obama's chief of staff disqualified him from running for mayor under residency rules. Emanuel, on the other hand, argued he always intended to return to Chicago after his U.S. service was over. He had rented out his Chicago house while in Washington and had even left personal belongings in a storage space in the house.
On Monday, a lower court in Illinois had disqualified Emanuel, ruling that he was not a resident of Chicago. The Supreme Court, however, agreed in overturning that decision that the appellate court's basis for declaring Emanuel ineligible was “without any foundation in Illinois law.”
Thursday’s decision came following a preliminary ruling on Tuesday by the Supreme Court that Emanuel was eligible to run and that ballots with his name on it could be printed pending the Court’s final ruling on the matter.
Emanuel was not immediately available for comment, but The Chicago Tribune reported that a cheer went up in his headquarters when the court’s ruling was announced.
A recent poll conducted by The Tribune found that Emanuel had the support of 44 percent of Chicago voters, compared with 21 percent for his closest opponent, former U.S. Senator Carol Moseley Braun.
The election will take place on February 22.