Emanuel and son Zach on visit to Israel
Emanuel and son Zach on visit to Israel Israel news photo: Flash 90

Ex-White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is back on the ballot in the race for next mayor of Chicago – at least for now. A ruling by the Illinois Supreme Court Tuesday overturned a decision by an appellate court that denied him the right to run, and ordered that no ballots be printed up without his name on them.

In the event that an appeal of the decision upholds Emanuel's right to run, his name will be available for voters to choose on the ballot, and if Emanuel is barred from running in the end, voters will be instructed to ignore his name, the court said.

Emanuel resigned from his White House post on October 1, announcing that he was planning to run for mayor of Chicago. Emanuel at the time said that he had been cleared as eligible to run for mayor by the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners. According to local law, candidates for mayor must have been residents of the city for at least a year prior to an election.

But a lawsuit brought by two city residents claimed that while he may have been a resident for purposes of voting, maintaining a home in Chicago, he was not an actual resident of the city, which would bar him from running for mayor. The State Appellate court agreed, and barred him from running, but in the appeal to the State Supreme Court, Emanuel was cleared to run. If the decision survives a planned appeal, he will be a candidate in the February 22 election.

According to a poll released Tuesday, over 70 percent of Chicago residents want Emanuel on the ballot, and he overwhelmingly leads the other main candidates with about 52 percent of all votes, compared to less than 30 percent for the three other candidates.

Israelis do not have fond memories of Emanuel, who visited Israel last May for his son's Bar Mitzvah – and allegedly left Israeli taxpayers a bill for his family's fried squid dinner in Eilat, where he and his family feasted on non-kosher burgers, calimari, cheviche, and other dishes, and walked out of the resident, leaving the Tourism Ministry to pick up the tab. The Ministry later denied that it had paid Emanuel's bill.