Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel meets Chicago’s residency requirement and can stay on the mayoral ballot, a judge ruled Tuesday afternoon. The ruling, by Cook County Circuit Associate Judge Mark Ballard, upholds last month’s ruling by the Chicago Board of Elections in Emanuel’s favor.
Opponents of Emanuel’s candidacy argued Emanuel wasn’t a resident of Chicago during his time at the White House, thereby making him ineligible for the Feb. 22 election. Burt Odelson, the lawyer representing the challenge to Emanuel’s residency, has already said he plans to appeal the decision.
The ruling is a blow to Emanuel’s challengers, who have lagged behind the former chief of staff in the polls. Emanuel has kept a double-digit lead in the race to succeed Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley since he entered.
Earlier Tuesday, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Emanuel will join former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, City Clerk Miguel del Valle and former Chicago Public Schools President Gery Chico in a debate at the end of the month. It is the first mayoral debate that Emanuel has participated in.
The case is expected to go to the Illinois Supreme Court, according to Chicago media outlets.