Run, Rahm, Run

Rahm Emanuel has cleared the first of many challenges to his eligibility for the Chicago mayor's race.

The Chicago Board of Elections upheld the recommendation of hearing officer Joseph Morris, who issued a 69-page non-binding recommendation late Wednesday night stating, in essence, that Emanuel's residency issue should not keep his name off the ballot.

"It has not been established that the candidate, a resident of Chicago, abandoned his status as such a resident," Morris wrote on page 32 of the recommendation, citing Emanuel's time as President Barack Obama's White House chief of staff.  "... His absence was occassion by his attention to business of the United States."

Morris' decision runs counter to the varied and colorful arguments that were hurled at Emanuel during a lengthy, sometimes bizarre and often entertaining testimony period last week.

The hearing officer made reference to a number of citizen objectors in his recommendation, who said that Emanuel gave up his residency when he leased his house to Rod Halpin and moved his family to Washington D.C..

"The heart of the question of the candidate's residence is not whether the candidate established residence in Chicago during 2010 but if, at some time prior to, or during, but in any event affecting, the period from and after February 22, 2010, he abandoned it."

Emanuel released this statement late Wednesday.

"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."

Either way the case will likely move to the Cook County Circuit Court, and beyond. Which ever side loses the argument before the election board -- Emanuel's campaign or the 23 citizen objectors -- they'll have a week to appeal the decision.

Many believe the case is destined for the Illinois Supreme Court. 

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