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Rahm Emanuel Files 90,000 Signatures, Petition Filing Begins For Chicago Elections

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UPDATED STORY 12:55 p.m. CT

As early as 10 a.m. Sunday, candidates and campaign workers filing petitions for the City of Chicago elections began lining up at 69 W. Washington, hoping to make it onto the ballot.

The early start is a Chicago tradition, as those who file their 12,500 valid signatures by 9 a.m. Monday are entered in a lottery to win a top spot on the February ballot.

The Rahm Beat

According to Rahm Emanuel's campaign, an aide turned in about 90,000 signatures Monday morning--which means one in 16 Chicago voters signed a petition for Emanuel.

Democratic Party lawyer Mike Kasper told Early and Often that Emanuel will have no problem with signatures, but if issues arise over the validity of Emanuel's residency, Kasper said he would represent the former White House Chief of Staff.

Emanuel announced his bid for Chicago mayor on Saturday, and released his first campaign ad of the season this weekend as well.

Republicans For Meeks?

Following through in several public vows, state Sen. James Meeks announced Sunday that he would indeed run for Mayor of Chicago.

While no Republican candidates have publicly discussed running for mayor, Meeks has a conservative stance on most social issues--including opposition to abortion and gay rights. When he announced his candidacy Sunday, former Illinois Republican Party chairman Andy McKenna introduced him.

"Sen. Meeks has one clear priority -- it was there clear the first time he ran for office: children and education," McKenna said Sunday, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Carol Steps Things Up

Early and Often is reporting that former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun gathered more signatures than Rahm Emanuel--nearly 93,000 signatures.

Davis, Chico, Del Valle Are In

U.S. Rep. Danny Davis announced his candidacy on Sunday, vowing to bridge the gap between the city's richest and poorest residents. Though he initially said he would wait until the Nov. 22 deadline, Early and Often reports that Davis filed his petitions today. He gathered about 50,000 signatures.

Gery Chico also filed more than 50,000 signatures on Monday. In an emailed statement, his campaign said he would announce his first major campaign proposal this week. He also wants the next few months to be filled with debates.

"I am calling for all the candidates to commit to at least 10 debates in Chicago's neighborhoods before the election," Chico said in a statement. "The future of our city is at stake and Chicagoans deserve nothing short of a full and vigorous debate of the issues. Let's debate ways to create more jobs, make our streets safer and fix education and let's debate them now because Chicago needs a mayor who is ready on Day One."

The son of City Clerk Miguel del Valle Miguel Del Valle also camped out early Monday to file his father's petitions, NBC Chicago reports.

Aside from the heated race to replace Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, the February 2011 ballot will also allow voters to pick a City Clerk, City Treasurer and 50 aldermen.

WATCH folks arrive at the Chicago Board of Elections here:

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcchicago.com/video.