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Davis: Courts Will Decide Emanuel’s Residency

"I Don’t Think That He Meets The Requirements Of The Law"
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Danny Davis

U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, a candidate for mayor of Chicago, discusses residency issues facing rival candidate Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2010. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (WBBM) — Mayoral candidate Danny Davis says he doesn’t think opponent Rahm Emanuel meets the residency requirements to run for mayor, but he’s leaving it up to the courts to make the final determination.

Congressman Davis said Tuesday that he doesn’t feel threatened by Emanuel’s candidacy, even though Emanuel is largely seen as the front-runner in the race to succeed Mayor Richard M. Daley.

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Congressman Davis says issues are important to voters, and that includes the issue of whether a candidate meets municipal standards to run for mayor.

“The law is the law and the law must be upheld. No one is above the law. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. There can be no exemptions, there can be no exceptions. What goes for one must go for all,” Davis said. “Based upon what I know and based upon what I have read, I have not seen anything that would suggest to me that (Emanuel) meet the requirements of the law. I don’t think that he meets the requirements of the law and whether or not he should be on the ballot.”

The law requires that a candidate establish residency one year before an election. Emanuel contends he has owned his home and paid property taxes in the city for years, including while he was working as President Obama’s chief of staff since 2008.

Davis said he is not planning a legal challenge to Emanuel’s presence on the ballot and said it will ultimately be up to election officials and the court system to decide.

“I will not make that decision. I will not make that determination. A court of law will,” Davis said.

As for whether Emanuel’s intent to return to Chicago after serving as Obama’s chief of staff should be a factor in determining his legal residency, Davis said intent is “in the eye of the intender.”

“I think the law specifies what one must do in order to qualify,” Davis said. “There may be some case law, there may be something that someone would find, there may be something that someone will interpret that perhaps taking a voluntary job is equivalent to being drafted into the military, something of that nature, but I have not seen anything to indicate that yet, and so I guess we’ll wait and see if anything turns up.”

Mayor Daley has defended Emanuel, saying it is an accepted fact that people leave their homes to work in government without giving up their residency.

Election lawyer Burt Odelson and other election experts say Emanuel doesn’t meet the requirement and plan to challenge it in court.

Davis said that he’s not worried that saying he doesn’t believe Emanuel meets the requirements to run will be seen as a desperate attempt to knock off a popular opponent.

“No, he doesn’t pose a threat to me and the issues are the issues. I mean, the issues are how do we clean up the perception that somehow or another there are unequal systems of justice in our country,” Davis said. “That’s an issue, I mean, that’s an issue. That’s a feeling that many people have that they don’t necessarily get the same treatment in terms of the law that someone else may receive. And so, that’s an issue.”

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