Rahm Emanuel placed permanently back on Chicago mayoral ballot

Kris Anne Bonifacio

He’s back on – and for good this time.

After a roller-coaster journey to the mayoral candidacy, the Illinois Supreme Court unanimously ruled Thursday that Northwestern alumnus Rahm Emanuel can stay on the ballot for the Chicago mayoral race. The decision finalized the long debate over whether President Barack Obama’s Chief of Staff met the residency requirement for mayoral candidates.

“Given the record before us, it is simply not possible to find clearly erroneous the (Chicago) Board (of Election)’s determination that the objectors failed to prove that the candidate had abandoned his Chicago residence,” according to the court’s decision.

The Chicago Board of Elections first confirmed Emanuel’s eligibility for the race last month, then an Illinois circuit court judge reiterated the decision inearly January. But in a surprising turn of events earlier this week, an Illinois appellate court determined Emanuel unable to run for the election to replace retiring Mayor Richard Daley, because he did not reside in Chicago for a year before the elections.

Emanuel and his lawyers filed an appeal to the high court Tuesday. The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case a few hours after the appeal. The court also decided to grant Emanuel a temporary stay, so the Chicago Board of Elections would stop printing ballots without his name on it.

According to the Supreme Court’s ruling, the court based the decision on the fact that the Illinois law had established and has been consistent in the definition of “residency,” and the appellate court’s new definition did not reflect the long-established convention. Furthermore, the Board of Elections’ findings based on the evidence provided in the case was not wrong, making their decision valid.

Emanuel participated in the mayoral debate Thursday night, alongside former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, former Chicago Board of Education president Gery Chico and City Clerk Miguel del Valle. Emanuel earned a master’s degree from the School of Communication in 1985.

Early voting begins Monday, and the election is Feb. 22.

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