| CHICAGO, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- The Illinois Supreme Court Tuesday stayed a lower court order and put Rahm Emanuel's name back on the mayoral ballot for the Feb. 22 election.
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An appellate court Monday ordered Emanuel's name removed, ruling he did not meet the one-year residency requirement to qualify as a candidate.
Emanuel moved back to Chicago in October after having served as President Obama's chief of staff in Washington.
The state's high court decision stayed the appellate order, which had overturned a Cook County Circuit Court ruling and a decision by the Chicago Board of Elections.
"It is ordered that the emergency motion by petitioner Rahm Emanuel for stay pending appeal is allowed in part", the court said. "The appellate court decision is stayed. The Board of Elections is directed that if any ballots are printed while this court is considering this case, the ballots should include the name of petitioner Rahm Emanuel as a candidate for mayor of the city of Chicago."
The court issued a subsequent order granting expedited review.
Emanuel's eligibility to run has been under challenge since he filed his nominating petitions. At hearings last month before the Chicago Board of Elections, he argued he never abandoned his residency when he accepted the White House job and always intended to return to the city.
The decision, which was handed down shortly before noon, comes the same day elections officials were to begin printing ballots for early voting, which begins Monday.
Arguments against the stay by attorneys for Walter P. Maksym and Thomas L. McMahon, who filed the challenge to Emanuel's candidacy, call Emanuel narcissistic in his pursuit of the mayor's office, saying he would disenfranchise whoever votes for him should he eventually be found unqualified to run.
Emanuel's appeal argues the appellate ruling ignores precedent and if allowed to stand, it would amount to an unprecedented restriction on future candidates and ignores precedent.
Emanuel, a former congressman, has argued he maintained his Chicago residency by paying property taxes on his Chicago home while renting it out during his time with the Obama administration. He said his White House work was a matter of national service.
"I have no doubt that in the end we will prevail in this effort", Emanuel, 51, said at a news conference Monday. "This is a big election ... that will determine the city's future."
Emanuel, who has a nearly $12 million war chest, had been leading former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, former mayoral Chief of Staff Gery Chico and City Clerk Miguel del Valle in polling.
A poll conducted last week by the Tribune and WGN-TV, Chicago, found 44 percent of city voters supported Emanuel, 21 percent supported Braun and 16 percent supported Chico.
The election is Chicago's first at-large contest for mayor. If no candidate wins 51 percent of the vote, a runoff will be held in April. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
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