Rahm Emanuel is a Chicago resident and should be allowed to run for Chicago mayor, a hearing officer recommended early Thursday, after challengers said his move to Washington to work as President Obama's White House chief of staff disqualified him from the Feb. 22 mayoral primary ballot. The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners meets today to consider the hearing report and vote on the Emanuel case.
Hearing officer Joseph Morris found that Emanuel did not abandon his Chicago residency by moving to Washington because Illinois law carves out exemptions for people in "service" to the U.S.
Morris wrote in his opinion, "The preponderance of the evidence established that the sole reason for the Candidate's absence from Chicago during 2009 and 2010 was by reason of attendance to business of the United States." The Morris recommendation is non-binding on the three-member election board.
EMANUEL REACTS: "While the decision rests with the Commissioners, I am encouraged by this recommendation. It affirms what I have said all along - that the only reason I left town was to serve President Obama and that I always intended to return. Chicago voters should ultimately have the right to decide the election - and to vote for me, or against me. And they deserve a swift conclusion to this process so that the campaign can focus on the challenges facing the city and the need for safe streets, strong schools, and stable city finances."
Sun-Times City Hall reporter Fran Spielman and political writer Abdom M. Pallasch file their report on Emanuel clearing the first round here, which includes a recap of the zany hearings held earlier in December where Morris allowed the 26 challengers to all have their say.