Rahm Emanuel should not appear on the Feb. 22 mayoral ballot, according to a ruling issued by a state appellate court today.
Emanuel told a news conference he would appeal the decision to the Illinois Supreme Court and would ask for an injunction so his name will appear on the mayoral ballot.
“I have no doubt at the end we’ll prevail in this effort,” Emanuel said. “We’ll now go to the next level to get clarity.”
In a 2-1 ruling, the appellate panel said Emanuel does not meet the residency requirement of having lived in Chicago for a year prior to the election. The judges reversed a decision by the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, which had unanimously agreed that Emanuel was eligible to run for mayor. (Read the ruling here.)
“We conclude that the candidate neither meets the Municipal Code’s requirement that he have ‘resided in’ Chicago for the year preceding the election in which he seeks to participate nor falls within any exception to the requirement,” the majority judges wrote.
“Accordingly, we disagree with the Board’s conclusion that he is eligible to run for the office of Mayor of the City of Chicago. We reverse the circuit court’s judgment confirming the Board’s decision, set aside the Board’s decision and … order that the candidate’s name be excluded (or, if necessary, removed) from the ballot.”
Appellate Justice Bertina E. Lampkin wrote a dissenting opinion.
“I disagree with the majority’s contrary conclusion that the candidate is not eligible to be on the ballot because that conclusion is based on an analysis of two issues — establishing residency and a statutory exemption to the residency requirement — that are not relevant to the resolution of this case.”
Emanuel said he meets requirements despite moving to Washington, D.C. to serve as President Barack Obama’s White House chief of staff.
“Fundamentally, when a president asks you to serve the country as his chief of staff, you do it,” Emanuel said.
Time is of the essence in Emanuel’s appeal. Early voting starts a week from today on Jan. 31.