Emanuel says voters aren't focused on his residency

Candidates faces at least 15 challenges to his paperwork

November 29, 2010

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(WBEZ/Sam Hudzik)
Emanuel meets employees at a Chicago factory, whose owner said the former congressman helped keep the jobs in the city.

Rahm Emanuel is responding to objections filed with the Chicago election board against his candidacy. They allege the ex-White House chief of staff is ineligible to run for mayor, because he rented out his house while living in Washington.

Since the complaints were filed - there are now at least 15 of them - Emanuel has relied on surrogates to speak for him. But on Monday morning, at a press conference at a factory on the city's Northwest side, Emanuel took a few questions from reporters.

He said voters are thinking about things like jobs, instead of whether he meets the one-year residency requirement for candidates.

"They know in the city of Chicago, the basic political games and tricks that go on [in] the city of Chicago," Emanuel said.

Despite claiming his residency is a non-issue to voters, Emanuel spent some time talking about his Chicago roots, in detail.

"I was born in the city of Chicago," Emanuel said. "I raised my kids in the city of Chicago. I own a home in the city of Chicago. I pay property taxes in the city of Chicago. I have a car registered in the city of Chicago. I vote from the city of Chicago, and I was a congressman from the city of Chicago. My uncle was a police officer in the city of Chicago. My father was a pediatrician in the city of Chicago - for over 40 years - and my grandfather came to the city of Chicago in 1917 from Russia."

Ultimately, the residency law will be interpreted by the three-member Chicago Board of Election Commissioners. If that decision is appealed, the courts will rule on whether Emanuel can stay on the ballot. He is one of 20 candidates vying to replace Mayor Richard Daley.