Emanuel To Appeal Residency Requirement Ruling
STEVE INSKEEP, Host:
Here's how things stand as of now in the Chicago mayor's race. Officials begin printing ballots today for the city elections, which come next month. And officials plan not to include the name of Rahm Emanuel. The former White House chief of staff was the front-runner in the race to be Chicago's next mayor. He's been knocked off the ballot by an Illinois appeals court, that said he did not meet the residency requirement. Emanuel's attorneys are appealing, but time is running short, as NPR's David Schaper reports.
DAVID SCHAPER: Former Chicago congressman Rahm Emanuel moved to Washington, D.C., two years ago to serve as President Obama's chief of staff. And he contends that even though he didn't return until October to run in the February 22nd election, he's still a resident.
M: I still own a home here - look forward to moving into it one day - vote from here, pay property taxes here.
SCHAPER: But now, in a controversial 2-1 ruling, an appellate court panel is reversing those earlier decisions, and ordering that Emanuel's name be left off the ballot. Chicago Board of Elections spokesman Jim Allen says printing begins today.
M: We'll be going to press with one less candidate on the ballot.
SCHAPER: Allen says even though the city elections are just four weeks away, the elections board held off on printing ballots until the appeals court ruled. Now, he says, they're in a race against time to get absentee ballots out in the mail and to program electronic voting machines for early voting, which begins next week.
M: This has been a long time coming. We have to hit the go button.
SCHAPER: Emanuel's attorneys file an appeal today with the Illinois Supreme Court, and ask for a stay to stop the printing of ballots. Emanuel says he has no doubt that in the end he will prevail, adding that the courts shouldn't be deciding this election.
M: I do believe that the people of the City of Chicago deserve the right to make a decision on who they want to be their next mayor.
SCHAPER: The latest polls had Emanuel leading the second-place candidate, former U.S. Senator Carol Moseley Braun, by a 2-1 margin. So Moseley Braun is quickly trying to take advantage of Emanuel's court-delivered setback.
F: I'm hoping that supporters of Mr. Emanuel, supporters, people who are undecided, will choose to join our coalition of conscience, will choose to embrace the message that we have been consistently trying to bring to this city.
SCHAPER: But political observers say there really isn't much traction to gain just yet for Moseley Braun and Emanuel's other opponents: city clerk Miguel del Valle, and former school board president Gery Chico. Alan Gitelson is a political science professor at Loyola University of Chicago.
INSKEEP: So I think from all perspectives, really, we find that the election, in some ways, is kind of on an interesting hold.
SCHAPER: David Schaper, NPR News, Chicago.
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