you say: "Mayor Gery Chico"? Can you
say: "Boss Ed Burke who pulls Mayor Chico's
mayoral election is slightly less than 90 days
away, but here's a very plausible prediction: Rahm
Emanuel will not be elected mayor on Feb. 22 or in
the April 5 runoff. In fact, he will not get any
votes. That's because he will not be on the
ballot, due to his problematic residency in
of Nov. 22, the last day to submit nominating
petitions, 20 candidates had filed for mayor.
Emanuel, the recently resigned White House chief
of staff and a Northwest Side congressman from
2003 to 2009, submitted petitions bearing more
than 90,000 signatures. Virtually every white
Democratic committeeman north of the Eisenhower
Expressway supports Emanuel and circulated his
petitions. None of the Southwest Side white
committeemen have done so.
the 20 filed candidates, 10 are credible. Emanuel
is the only viable white candidate. Six are black:
Danny Davis, Carol Moseley Braun, James Meeks,
Dock Walls, Roland Burris and Patricia Van Pelt
Watkins. Three are Hispanic: Chico, Miguel Del
Valle and Wilfredo de Jesus. Chicago's electorate
is roughly 50 percent white, 40 percent black and
10 percent Hispanic. With no other credible white
candidate running, and with nine candidates
fractionalizing the non-white vote, Emanuel is a
certainty to get at least 40 percent of the vote
and make the runoff -- if he's on the ballot.
recent poll pegged Emanuel at 39 percent, to 12
percent for Braun and 7 percent for Chico.
the close of filing, something quite curious
occurred. Rob Halpin, the unknown and politically
unsophisticated tenant who rented the Ravenswood
home formerly occupied (and still owned) by
Emanuel and his family since early January of
2009, filed petitions to run for mayor bearing
20,000 signatures. He claims that "friends
and family" passed his petitions.
is, in the political vernacular, a
"shill." However, his role is not to
drain votes from Emanuel, but rather to dramatize
Emanuel's residency issue. How can two candidates
for mayor have occupied the same house at the same
to Democratic sources, the bulk of Halpin's 20,000
signatures came from the South Side, in and around
Burke's 14th Ward, with some from the 19th Ward.
It takes 12,500 signatures to get on the ballot.
South Side Democratic committeemen are less than
thrilled, if not outright hostile, to the prospect
of a non-South Side, non-Irish, Jewish mayor from
the North Side.
West Side Mayor Anton Cermak's assassination in
1932, Chicago has had eight mayors, five of whom
were Irish and from Bridgeport and the 11th Ward.
They controlled City Hall for 68 of those 78
years. Black South Siders Harold Washington and
Gene Sawyer served for 6 years. The only North
Side mayor since 1932 was Jane Byrne, of Sauganash,
who lasted only one 4-year term.
is not a serious candidate. But the challenge to
Emanuel is quite serious.
columnist has been an attorney for 32 years and
has practiced election law since the early 1980s.
Based upon that experience, here are my
Number One: Chicago is a "home
rule" entity. It sets its own ballot access
laws. Chapter 24 of the Municipal Code requires a
1-year residency for mayoral candidates, which has
been construed to be 1 year prior to the date of
election, not the date of being sworn in as mayor.
Chicago Board of Elections case law puts the
burden on the objector to prove nonresidency by a
"preponderance of evidence," with
"doubts resolved in favor of ballot
access." Further, the board has ruled that
the "lifestyle of the candidate is not a test
of residency." In effect, a toothbrush, a
cot, a voter card and a driver's license are
prevail, Emanuel's objector must prove
conclusively that the candidate and his family
physically resided elsewhere than Chicago since
Feb. 22, 2010.
is a foregone conclusion. While he was in
Congress, Emanuel's family resided in Ravenswood.
Once he joined the Obama Administration, he and
his family moved their "physical
presence" to Washington, D.C., enrolled his
children in school, and gave a 2-year lease of his
home to Halpin, for $5,000 per month, effective in
January of 2009. In September of 2010, Emanuel
extended his lease to Halpin for an additional
year, until the end of 2011. Emanuel still owns
the property on Hermitage Avenue, and he pays
Number Two: Resident does not necessarily mean
voter. The board has ruled that a candidate
"need not be a voter at his place of
residence," only that he be a "qualified
voter" somewhere in the municipality. Under
current statutes, homeless people can vote from
under a bridge or a street corner. Emanuel now
avers to "reside" in a rental
condominium which he leased in September of 2010,
but he still voted provisionally on Nov. 2 out of
his Hermitage house, even though he had been
stricken from voter rolls for nonresidency.
Number Three: Residency is not based on
"specific intent." Is it not a state of
mind. President Barack Obama, for example,
uprooted his family from Hyde Park to the White
House, but he didn't rent his home, and nobody
questions his Chicago residency. U.S. senators and
representatives are elected to serve in
Washington, and many move their families to
Virginia or Maryland and buy homes, but they still
vote out of their state or districts, even if they
are present only a few days a month.
Emanuel, from 2009 onward, was not a resident of
Chicago any days per month. If he returned, it was
transitory and not with his family. Like Obama,
Emanuel was elected to serve in Washington in
2008, but he chose to resign and relocate
permanently to Washington. It was only when Mayor
Rich Daley retired and a Republican congressional
"wave" was imminent that Emanuel decided
to return home. Emanuel's attorneys assert that he
always intended to return, as evidenced by his
votes from the Hermitage address in 2009 and 2010.
If so, why did he extend the lease on the home?
situation is reminiscent of Hilary Clinton's
machinations in 2000: She was a voter in Arkansas,
she lived in the White House for 8 years, and she
re-registered in New York in 2000 to run for U.S.
senator. Under the U.S. Constitution, a senator
must be a resident of the state, but there is no
prior residency period. Not so in Chicago.
1983, 29th Ward aldermanic candidate Iola McGowan
claimed she lived in a boarded-up building without
electricity on the West Side and that she used
portable lights and a kerosene stove during the
five nights a week she inhabited the home. She got
her mail elsewhere. Her claim was ridiculous, and
she was removed from the ballot.
With Emanuel in the race, an Emanuel-Chico or
Emanuel-Davis matchup in the April runoff is
likely. Emanuel will get at least 80 percent of
the white vote, or 40 percent of the total vote.
The Hispanic vote will be divided between Chico
and City Clerk Miguel del Valle, both of whom will
be seeking white votes. With six black candidates
dividing 40 percent of the vote, it will be a
chore to win half, or 20 percent of the total
vote, but Davis, a West Side congressman, has the
best chance. If Chico gets over half the Hispanic
vote and 20 percent of the white vote, he finishes
with 15 to 17 percent of the vote. If Burke and
other South Side committeemen push Chico, he could
finish with over 20 percent of the vote.
Emanuel is bounced from the ballot, Chico becomes
the least unacceptable non-white candidate. After
all, he was Daley's chief of staff, the Chicago
Board of Education president and the City Colleges
of Chicago top executive. Every pro-Daley white
committeeman would back Chico, and, if he is
elected mayor, Chico would be under the thumb of
the white committeemen who put him in that
are some interesting developments in aldermanic
Ward (Logan Square): The now-extinct Hispanic
Democratic Organization was instrumental in Ariel
Reboyras' election as alderman in 2003, when he
got 77 percent of the vote (4,561 votes). Reboyras
was reelected in 2007 with 70 percent of the vote
(3,436 votes). He has been a Daley stooge in the
City Council, and his ward voter base is, at best,
liberal del Valle led the anti-HDO element in this
heavily Puerto Rican area, and he is backing
Willie Delgado, his successor as senator, against
Reboyras. The incumbent is supported by Joe
Berrios, the party's county chairman and a Board
of Review commissioner who was elected assessor on
Nov. 2. Also running are Doug Cannon, Stella
Nicpon and Chester Hornowski. Reboyras is in
the 47th Ward (North Center, Ravenswood), 35-year
Alderman Gene Schulter is poised to get Berrios'
job at the Board of Review. The post will be
filled by chief county judge Tim Evans, who served
with Schulter during the 1980s. In expectation of
Schulter's departure, Tom O'Donnell, a top aide to
county Sheriff Tom Dart and a longtime ward
precinct captain, filed petitions for alderman,
with three others. If Evans makes the pick,
O'Donnell will seamlessly slide into the