Image: Rahm Emanuel
Olivier Douliery, Pool  /  EPA
White House Chief Of Staff Rahm Emanuel looks on during a meeting between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Gilani of Pakistan at the Blair House in Washington, DC, on April 11.
msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 1/4/2011 2:45:59 PM ET 2011-01-04T19:45:59

A Cook County judge has ruled that former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel can run for Chicago mayor.

Judge Mark Ballard said that there was “sufficient evidence to support” that Emanuel met the city’s residency eligibility requirements despite spending most of his time in Washington, D.C., during the first two years of Barack Obama’s presidency.

Ballard’s ruling upholds an earlier decision by the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.

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"The Board of Elections and the court have both now concluded what I have said all along," Emanuel said in a statement Tuesday. "That the only reason I left town was to serve President Obama and that I always intended to return."

"Now that these decisions have been reached, Chicago voters should have the right to decide the election and to vote for me or against me," he added.

Emanuel's attorney argued in court, like his team did earlier before an election board hearing officer, that Emanuel only went to Washington temporarily and did not abandon his residency in Chicago when he rented out his house.

"It isn't an intent to rewrite history, it is just history as it is," attorney Mike Kasper said.

Attorney Burt Odelson, who represents the Chicago voters challenging Emanuel’s residency, is expected to appeal the ruling.

WMAQ's Mary Ann Ahern contributed to this story.

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