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12/07/2010

Circus Emanuel

  Burt Odelson appeared not so sure of himself anymore.

  On Monday morning, the esteemed election law attorney was sitting in the front row facing hearing examiner Joseph Morris as the "leader" of over two dozen objectors to the Chicago mayoral candidacy of former Congressman Rahm Emanuel.

  Odelson was the first to raise a red flag over Emanuel's candidacy.  He claimed that because the former White House Chief of Staff's northside house was leased to a tenant during Emanuel's service in Washington,  Emanuel technically does not meet the candidate's requirement of one full year's residency in Chicago prior to the February 22, 2011 election. 

  But during the weeks that Odelson prepared and recruited objectors/financiers for his case,  over two dozen citizen activists jumped on the bandwagon to file their own challenges against Emanuel's candidacy.

  The problem for Odelson is that too many of the bandwagon jumpers are members of what can only be described as Chicago's political "fringe".  They include "Queen Sister" Georzetta Deloney, the homeless but "Honorable" Sylvester 'Junebug' Hendricks, perennial candidate/election loser William "Dock" Walls, and right-wing radio talker William J. Kelly.

  Some objectors wore buttons with the words "Indict Rahm".  One who called himself a Kelly supporter launched into a speech alleging Emanuel was part of some unexplained criminal conspiracy.

  Political mainstreamer Odelson clearly was embarassed to be in such company.  He indicated to Morris he preferred that his presentation--based solely on the Municipal Code--be considered apart from the other "unlawyered" objections to Emanuel.

  "We want to move this along, especially in light of the 30 odd cases aside from my case," said Odelson.

  Odelson's discomfort was countered by the hint of a smile on the face of Emanuel's attorney Mike Casper.  Casper has indicated that his client will testify at some point during the hearing that despite leasing his house, he and his family lived in Washington for most of the past year because of his service at the White House.  Emanuel is expected to testify that it never was his intent to leave Chicago. 

  Is it possible that the challenged candidate--in a room filled with political loonies--could come across as a victim?

  Burt Odelson says he's confident the law is on his side and that he should win his case to keep Rahm Emanuel off the ballot.

  But he also knows that when the circus comes to town...

  ...anything can happen. 

 

 

 

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