A state appeals court has ruled that President Obama's former Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, cannot run for mayor in the city of Chicago because he was not a resident of the city for a full year before running. The decision is shocking and significantly changes the mayor's race, where Emanuel had more than a 2-to-1 advantage over his closest competitor, Carol Moseley Braun.
Emanuel's exit from the race will likely be appealed to the Supreme Court, but until then, there are a lot of questions to be answered. According to a recent poll, over 54 percent of Chicago's white residents supported Emanuel, with only 7 percent supporting Braun. Another candidate, Gery Chico, had 25 percent of the support from likely white voters.
Another question in the election will be how Obama and Clinton administration officials will respond to Emanuel's exit. Former President Bill Clinton engaged in an act that some considered to be a betrayal of the black community of Chicago by coming to town to campaign for Emanuel. President Obama has not openly endorsed Emanuel but has stated that he would be an excellent mayor.
It turns out that the drama of the Chicago mayoral race won't ever come to an end. Last month, there was an agreement for Danny Davis to drop out of the race so that Chicago's black community could rally their support behind a consensus black candidate. Mosley Braun, by proving that she could pull together the funding necessary for a serious run, took the lead as the only black candidate.
At this point, it seems abundantly clear that Emanuel was not a resident of Chicago. He rented a house in the city, but lived in Washington DC during the time he spent working for President Obama. The Supreme Court doesn't have to hear his case, but some are hoping that they will make a political decision that reflects the favor that Emanuel has from the current Chicago Mayor, Richard Daley (whose son has taken over Emanuel's position in Washington) and President Obama. But the truth is the truth and we can't let politics override that which is legally and ethically correct. But then again, we are talking about Chicago politics, where the rules are bent all the time.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and a Scholarship in Action Resident of the Institute for Black Public Policy. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.