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Countdown to Rahmageddon: "Gabba Gabba. One of Us. One of Us"

By Chuck Sudo in News on Nov 29, 2010 5:20PM


On Friday, prominent election law attorney Burt Odelson filed his residency challenge to Rahm Emanuel's mayoral candidacy. Nine similar challenges were filed Friday, along with the five that were filed the day before Thanksgiving.

With a Tuesday deadline to file residency challenges, it was expected that Odelson would file one against Emanuel's candidacy. He's been the most vocal of the anti-residency detractors, citing the state law that says a candidate has to live in the city for a year prior to running for office. Odelson has also been advising State Senator James Meeks on his campaign.

"Go to Webster's dictionary, look up resident, and tell me that's Rahm," Odelson said. "The law is really quite simple."

Meanwhile, supporters of Emanuel such as Congressman Jan Schakowsky said that the former White House Chief of Staff should not be punished for heeding the call of Presidential duty. But what's really at the root of these residency challenges? Is it a sincere concern that Emanuel hasn't established residency, despite the Emanuel campaign's release of absentee voter ballots, or is it a calculated effort to paint Emanuel as "not one of us?"

The Emanuel campaign is already viewed by many as opportunistic, but are the other 19 candidates not as ambitious? Could it be that the multiple challenges to Emanuel's residency are intended to give an already opportunistic campaign a taint of carpetbaggery? Conversely, the Emanuel campaign ad is geared equally to remind potential voters that he is one of us. In the ad, Emanuel speaks of how he wants his children to feel as passionate about Chicago as he did growing up. Those aren't the words of a carpetbagger.

Emanuel has said that the residency challenges are a distraction and that he'll be happy to get them out of the way. If the recent survey conducted on behalf of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association is to be believed, one-third of the participants don't care anyway.