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Chicagoan or carpetbagger? Rahm Emanuel hit by residency claims.

Rahm Emanuel has rented out his Chicago residence since leaving for Washington. Critics say that violates residency requirements for mayoral candidates and should disqualify him.

Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel (r.), has breakfast with Paul Bryson at Izola's Restaurant Monday as he prepares for a potential campaign for mayor Monday.

M. Spencer Green/AP

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Just two days into his listening tour of Chicago residents, Rahm Emanuel is having to answer whether he is actually one of them.

Mr. Emanuel's potential opponents in the race for Chicago mayor are seizing on a fine print requirement in the Chicago Board of Elections rules that requires any candidate for mayor to be a resident at least one year before election day.

Emanuel owns a home in Chicago’s Ravenswood neighborhood but has rented it out since relocating his family to Washington two years ago when he became White House chief of staff under President Obama. His current tenant refused his request to cut the lease short. Emanuel pays property taxes and voted absentee, which means it is likely the election board will consider his residency status the same as a member of the military.

But an opponent could file an objection, which might send the ruling through the court system.

The majority of candidates, including Emanuel, have not officially declared their candidacy, and the warning shots against Emanuel are being seen as an attempt by potential opponents to ground his campaign before it gets off the ground.
At stake for Emanuel are lingering presumptions he is an outsider in a city that cherishes its insular political culture.


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