CHICAGO (AP) - Just days ago, Rahm Emanuel seemed to be steamrolling the entire field of candidates for Chicago mayor. He had millions in the bank, a huge lead in the polls and abundant opportunities to show off his influence, including meeting with the visiting Chinese president.
But on Monday, the former White House chief of staff was waging a desperate bid to keep his campaign alive after an Illinois appeals court kicked him off the ballot for not meeting a residency requirement. The surprise decision threw the race into disarray with less than a month to go.
Emanuel's lawyers quickly sought help from the Illinois Supreme Court, asking the justices to stay the appellate ruling and to hear an appeal as soon as possible. But time was running short, since the Chicago Board of Elections planned to begin printing ballots without Emanuel's name within days.
The three members of the appeals court panel, all fellow Democrats, ruled 2-1 to overturn a lower-court ruling that would have kept his name on the Feb. 22 ballot. Early voting was set to begin in just a week, on Jan. 31. And absentee ballots were scheduled to be sent out in days.