Published: Dec 23, 2010 8:14 PM EST
Updated: Dec 23, 2010 5:14 PM EST

CHICAGO (AP) - Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel can run for Chicago mayor although he spent much of the last two years living in Washington while working for President Barack Obama, the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners ruled Thursday.

The board's unanimous decision to put Emanuel's name on the Feb. 22 ballot allowed the former White House chief of staff to clear a major hurdle to his ambitions to replace retiring Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. But the commission ruling the Emanuel met the residency requirement didn't resolve the matter completely, with one of the objectors' lawyers saying he would immediately appeal the ruling and fight Emanuel's candidacy all the way to the Illinois Supreme Court, if necessary.

More than two dozen people had challenged Emanuel's candidacy, contending he didn't meet a one-year residency requirement. But an
election board hearing officer recommended early Thursday morning
that Emanuel's name be placed on the ballot, based on evidence
showing that Emanuel had no intention of terminating his residency in Chicago, left the city only to work for Obama and often told friends he intended to live in Washington for no more than two years.

Emanuel said she he was pleased with the officer's recommendation.

"Chicago voters should ultimately have the right to decide the election -- and to vote for me or against me," Emanuel said in a statement before the ruling by the commission, comprised of two Democrats and a Republican.