Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel's legal team has begun an eleventh-hour blitz to keep the candidate on the mayoral ballot in Chicago after an appellate court ruled he is ineligible.

Lawyers for Emanuel filed a motion to stay a ruling by the Illinois Appellate Court that found in a 2-1 decision that Emanuel did not meet residency requirements to run for mayor. That decision is a reversal of an earlier court ruling that found Emanuel did meet the requirements and was eligible to run.


Hours after the Appellate Court handed down its ruling, Emanuel's lawyers filed their request for a stay of that ruling; they want the Illinois Supreme Court to then decide whether Emanuel meets residency requirements. 

The state Supreme Court could decline to hear the case.

In the motion, Emanuel's lawyers also promised to file a "Petition for Leave to Appeal" no later than Tuesday. Emanuel and his lawyers are hoping to keep Emanuel's name on the ballot while the Supreme Court considers the case.

"However, the Chicago Board of Elections has indicated that it will soon be printing ballots for the mayoral election and that, absent an order from this Court, it intends to omit Emanuel's name from the ballot," the motion reads. "Emanuel seeks entry of an immediate order requiring the Board, if it chooses to print the ballots while this Court considers Emanuel's Petition for Leave to Appeal, to put his name on the ballot in accordance with the original ruling of the Board of Elections."

At issue is whether Emanuel, who moved with his family to Washington to serve as chief of staff to President Obama, retained his residency. Chicago election law states that a candidate must have lived in the city for a year.

With early voting to begin on Monday and the election only about a month away, Emanuel's lawyers are rushing to convince the Illinois Supreme Court to reverse the Appellate Court's ruling. In the motion, Emanuel "urges" the Illinois Supreme Court to agree to hear the case and require an opening brief by the candidate on Thursday.

Emanuel's residency troubles have been his biggest obstacle since he entered the mayoral race. From the beginning, he held a double-digit lead in the polls over his closest competitor and has raised more cash than anyone else — in the second half of last year he raised over $10 million. Last week former President Clinton stumped for Emanuel, who served in the Clinton administration.

Read the motion requesting a stay here.