Illinois's 5th Congressional District Special Election 2009

The Race


A special election for Illinois's 5th Congressional District seat will be held on April 7, 2009, with a special primary election to be held March 3rd, 2009. By law, a general election must be held within 115 days of the vacancy (April 27, 2009). Until January 2, 2009, this was the seat of Rahm Emanuel, incoming Chief of Staff to President-elect Barack Obama.


Three Political Party Nominees


The Cook County Clerk's Office has certified the following three political party nominees elected in the March 3rd, 2009 Fifth District Congressional Special Election:  



Twenty Other Original Candidates Included:



The Cook County Board of Elections has yet to certify these Democratic Party candidacies:



The candidates for the Green Party nomination are listed on the ballot in the following order:


The candidates for the Republican Party nomination are listed on the ballot in the following order: 


What they're saying about the candidates and the race (in chronological order)


Chicago Progressive (03/06/09) web log blogger Sergio Barreto found that attending Fifth District Congressional candidate forums was more helpful than getting hung up on all of the political sniping.

     "Instead of using the Web to obsessively follow every move in the 5th District special primary election (some people did), I formed opinions about the candidates aiming to fill Rahm Emanuel's former seat by attending two separate forums, paying special attention to their views on progressive issues. I hold one indelible memory of this weird little campaign: The initial half hour or so of the first forum, held at DePaul University on Feb. 1, when each of the candidates was given three minutes to introduce him or herself.

     Eight of the 11 candidates in attendance were political novices, and at times it sounded as though they were making the exact same pitch, which I'll paraphrase thusly: "No, I've never held a political office. But why would you want that? Professional politicians got us in the mess we are in. Now let me tell you why my experience as a lawyer/doctor/Navy pilot/psychiatrist/realtor/economist/surgeon makes me the ideal candidate to represent you in Congress."[23]


The Chicago Sun Times (03/04/09) columnist Carol Marin cites "voter rebellion" as contributing to the election of Fifth District Congressional Democratic Party nominee Michael Quigley in the March 3rd Special Primary Election.

     "Who knew at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday that an earthquake was about to hit Chicago's Northwest Side?

Not Mike Quigley. He was standing alone on the corner of Cornelia and Southport grasping a handful of campaign fliers. Fifteen minutes before the polls would close, he was giving one last pitch to Brown Line commuters who hadn't yet voted in the three-party, 23-person primary for Rahm Emanuel's 5th Congressional District seat.

     Not the richest candidate, Quigley didn't have the cash state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz had raised.

A nemesis of regular Democrats, Quigley didn't have powerful ward bosses in his corner the way state Rep. John Fritchey did.

     In a district the Machine has controlled since 1958 -- except for two aberrant years -- with congressmen named Rostenkowski, Blagojevich and Emanuel, the 5th was the ultimate insider's seat.

What exactly did an outsider like Quigley have that would change that?

     Voter rebellion.[24] (03/03/09) web log blogger "KW" appears intrigued by the congested Fifth District Congressional Primary Election contest, including five Green Party Primary candidates.

     "An interesting primary. It is unusual for a third party to have 5 candidates in their primary, as the Green Party does in this race. The winner of the three primaries will run against each other in a special election on April 7th 2009. Check back here this evening for results and analysis.

The Green Party candidates are:Mark Arnold FredricksonDeb Gordils; Matt Reichel;and Simon Ribeiro

     The fifth Green Party candidate Alan Auguston elected to discontinue his campaign on February 5th and, as the Marine Corp veteran Auguston put it, "stand down."[25]


The Chicago Tribune (03/03/09) Election officials confirm that the 23 candidates vying for Congressman Rahm Israel Emanuel's open Fifth District seat sets a recent record!

     "Voters in the 5th Congressional District head to the polls today for a rare special election to pick someone to succeed Rahm Emanuel in Congress.

     They'll choose nominees from a crowded field of Democratic, Republican and Green Party candidates, with the special general election April 7.

     With 23 different names on the various party ballots, city election officials say it is the largest number of candidates in one congressional race in Chicago in roughly the last 50 years.[26]


Chicago Sun Times (03/03/09) reporter Abdon M. Pallasch reports on the flurry of commuter campaigning on this morning of the Fifth District Congressional Special Primary Election on Chicago's Northside & in the near Northwest Suburbs just south of O'Hare International Airport.

     "State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz and Ald. Patrick O'Connor (40th), rivals in today's Democratic primary election to succeed U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel, sat on the stage for two hours of tributes to Polish-born Revolutionary War hero Casimir Pulaski Monday.

     Polish-born Dr. Victor Forys is running as a favorite son of Poland in this race, but he was relegated to a chair off to the left of the main dias, where elected officials generally sit with men dressed in Polish and American cavalry uniforms to honor Pulaski in the annual pageant. Feigenholtz' adoptive Jewish mother was an immigrant from Poland, so she had an added claim to the chair.

     Retired Navy and Delta airline pilot Jan Donatelli, another of the 12 Democrats in this race, sat further back in the audience.

     In the western part of the district, Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley shook commuters' hands at the Jefferson Park CTA station. University of Chicago economist Charlie Wheelan set off to criss-cross the district on rail.

State Rep. John Fritchey celebrated his 45th birthday in-between shaking hands at three train stations a senior bingo session.

     The candidates have their volunteers working phone banks, calling and re-calling supporters to make sure they will be turning out to the polls today in what is expected to be a very low-turnout election.[27]


CBS News (03/03/09) The eyes of the nation will be upon the Fifth Congressional District Special Primary Election today as Chicago Northwest Side & near Northwest Suburban voters select three political party nominees.

     "Right now, 23 candidates are vying to take White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel's place in the Congress, but Chicagoans will narrow that field to three on Tuesday as they cast their primary ballots.

     Emanuel's former 5th Congressional District includes much of the city's North and Northwest sides, except for the Rogers Park area, parts of the north lakefront and most areas south of Fullerton Avenue. The district also includes all or part of several near western suburbs, including Schiller Park, Franklin Park, River Grove, Elmwood Park, Melrose Park and Northlake.

     The candidates vying for the seat include both current officeholders in state, city or county government and political newcomers whose names have been little heard before this election.[28] (03/03/09) web log blogger Emma Dumain predicts that the chilly Chicago & suburban weather wrestles with political graft & corruption for the sympathies of Fifth District Congressional voters ushered in to neighborhood polling places on Chicago's Northwest Side & in the Near Northwest Suburbs just south of Chicago's O'Hare International Airport today.

          "Chicago’s North Side will be bone-chillingly cold during the final days before the special election primary on March 3. But the nearly two dozen candidates to succeed Rep. Rahm Emanuel have no choice but to pound that pavement.

     Both parties’ fields are jam-packed because of the unexpected opportunity created when Emanuel left his seat in Congress to become White House chief of staff.

     There are 12 candidates just in the Democratic primary, which will produce the odds-on favorite for the April 7 general election in the overwhelmingly Democratic Fifth Congressional District.

The outcome in such a crowded field is hard to predict because of the uncertainty about how many people will show up at the polls.

     Voter participation for special elections tends to be well below the average for regularly scheduled elections.

     Turnout for this particular Tuesday primary could be dampened further by:

• Voters’ preoccupation with the current economic downturn;

• Political burnout from the election just four months ago that sent Chicago resident Obama to the White House;

• Anger about the corruption scandal that led the state legislature in January to oust Democratic Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich , who formerly represented the Fifth District in Congress;

• And the controversies surrounding Democrat Roland W. Burris , who Blagojevich appointed to the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Obama.

     The candidates who appear to make up the top tier in the Democratic contest have money for advertising. They thus will not be entirely reliant on canvassing the district’s demographically varied neighborhoods, which runs from the Lake Michigan shoreline just north of downtown across a swath of the city, reaching to its northern and western fringes.[29] (03/02/09) web log blogger Jesse Greenberg describes the fun he's had capturing the twists & turns of the Fifth District Congressional Special Primary Election campaign during the most recent ten weeks.

     "It’s been a lot of fun blogging about the Democratic Primary for the 5th District Congressional seat.  We’ve seen a lot in the 10 weeks or so that the campaign has been in full swing.  I thought it would be nice to provide a rundown of the best and worst moments in the primary.[30] (03/02/09) web log blogger Reid Wilson wraps up coverage of the Fifth District Congressional race just hours before voters cast their ballots in the March 3rd, 2009 Special Primary Election.

     "Voters in northern Chicago and its suburbs head to the polls Tuesday to select nominees to fill White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s congressional seat.

     With a dozen Democrats and half a dozen Republicans vying for their parties’ respective nominations, clear favorites have emerged, though observers trying to guess the winner say it will be a close contest that hinges on get-out-the-vote operations.

     On the Democratic side, Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley began the race with a slight name-recognition advantage, and both public and private polls taken as few as two weeks ago show him holding a slim lead. Political watchers say endorsements from the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times will help Quigley overcome a fundraising shortfall.

     State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D) has been on television for several weeks thanks to a major fundraising advantage, and she’s also getting help from the Service Employees International Union, which has dumped more than $250,000 into the race on her behalf. Though Emanuel has not endorsed a candidate, a Feigenholtz sign is planted in front of his Chicago home, and her appeal to women may give her a leg up among a field dominated by men.

     State Rep. John Fritchey, labor lawyer and liberal blogosphere favorite Tom Geoghegan, Chicago alderman Pat O’Connor and author Charlie Wheelan round out the top tier of candidates.[31]


The Washington Post (03/03/09) reporter Peter Slevin favors the Democratic Party candidates in his coverage of the 23 Fifth District Congressional candidates vying for the Party's nomination on the eve of the Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009 Special Primary Election.

     "Some special elections become a referendum on policy or party. But the primary here on Tuesday is not one of those.

     When Democratic voters go to the polls here to choose a successor to Rahm Emanuel, who gave up his seat in the House to become Barack Obama's White House chief of staff, they will be sorting through a crop of mainstream Democrats in a district that has gone Republican exactly once since 1907.

     All profess belief in political reform. All support better and cheaper health care and a stronger economy. All are distancing themselves from ousted governor Rod Blagojevich and the man he propelled into the Senate seat that Obama vacated, Roland W. Burris (D).

     "No one's voting on the issues," said Paul Green, a political analyst and Roosevelt University professor. "It's the candidate's name, who contacted them, stuff like that. In the old days, this would be called a precinct captain's election: 'Vote for my guy. Who wins it doesn't make a difference. Do it for me.' "

     Analysts expect the primary in this overwhelmingly Democratic district to be decided by a relatively small number of voters who brave the winter cold to go to the polls, with not a single other race on the ballot. Organization counts, and each of the leading Democratic contenders can boast of an organizational toehold.[32]


Chicago Public Radio WBEZ 91.5FM (03/02/09) "Eight Forty-Eight" program enlisted Chicago Sun Times reporter Abdon M. Pallasch to help summarize 30-second presentations from each of the responding Fifth District Congressional candidates on the eve of the Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009 Special Primary Election.[33] (03/02/09) web log blogger David Ormsby reports that at least one politlcal organization affiliated with Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley may have crossed the Shackman Consent Decree "Maginot Line" by working for Alderman Patrick O'Conner to dilute Regular Democratic Organization support for State Representative John Fritchey. "Is State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz Mayor Richard Daley’s favored candidate in the Illinois 5th C.D. special election on Tuesday?

          Is Daley trying to nudge Feigenholtz over the finish line by giving a last minute shove to ostensible Feigenholtz rival 40th Ward Alderman Patrick O’Connor, Daley’s un-official City Council floor leader?

Mayor Richard Daley

Mayor Richard Daley

          Rich Miller reported on Friday in his Capitol Fax newsletter that the Mayor is making his move to boost O’Connor’s campaign.

          “Word is that a political organization strongly affiliated with Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley is sending troops in to help Ald. Pat O’Connor’s 5th Congressional District race.  That move will likely damage Rep. John Fritchey’s campaign because Fritchey is relying on “regular” ward organizations for a big chunk of his support,” Miller wrote.

          A Daley push for his long-time ally would no hold realistic expectation that O’Connor could actually win. Without the early hoped-for and overt Daley endorsement, O’Connor has run a virtual ghost campaign. As of Friday, O’Connor had raised only $102,000. And he has mustered only a single, meek cable ad in the TV air war.[34]


[NWACO has reported that members of the tainted Hispanic Democratic Organization have been deployed in to State Senator Ira Martinez's 20th State Senate District on Chicago's Near Northwest Side to work for one of the Democratic Party candidates & at least one independent Spanish-speaking candidate.]


[The January 10th, 2009 Regular Democratic Organization Zam Zam Banquet Hall endorsement session split Chicago RDO ward committeeperson support between State Representative John Fritchey & 40th Ward Alderman Patrick O'Connor. The above report may simply be reflective of the same.]


The Wall Street Journal (03/02/09) reporter Douglas Belkin calls the Fifth Congressional District Special Primary Election a "free for all."

     "The tainted Illinois political machine has left a vacuum in the race to fill Rahm Emanuel's congressional seat.

The Illinois fifth district, on the city's North Side, has long produced forceful, hyperpartisan Democrats who have brought their sharp elbows to Washington. Former House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Rostenkowski held the seat before he was convicted on corruption charges. Ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich represented the district for three terms before Mr. Emanuel, now the White House Chief of Staff, won the seat in 2002.

     Now, with the city's machine hobbled by negative headlines about Mr. Blagojevich and Sen. Roland Burris, neither the Democratic Party nor Mayor Richard Daley, usually the city's kingmaker, has offered an endorsement. This has left the door open to 23 candidates, including a slew of political neophytes like a Polish-speaking doctor, an airline pilot and a Cuban-born psychiatrist who grew up in public housing.

     Six Republicans, five Green Party candidates and a dozen Democrats will run in a special simultaneous primary Tuesday. The winner of the Democratic primary is heavily favored to win the general election on April 7. The winner will fill the remainder of the two-year term Mr. Emanuel won in November.[35] (03/02/09) web log "twitter" shares random observations from voters & campaign workers on the movement of Fifth District Congressional candidates.[36] (03/01/09) web log blog compares fund-raising for two of the 12 Democratic candidates vying for the Fifth District Congressional seat formerly held by President Barack Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Israel Emanuel.

     "With under three days before Democratic voters will choose a nominee to replace Rahm Emanuel in the Fifth Congressional District, the eager candidates are pulling out all the stops.

     State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz is maintaining the decided fundraising lead she has held throughout, but State Rep. John Fritchey and Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley are closing strong, with Fritchey reporting over $30,000 in contributions on Friday's 48-hour filing reports and Quigley disclosing over $15,000, according to Progress Illinois' fundraising table. Feigenholtz's total reported funds are $801, 244 while Fritchey, the closest candidate behind her, totals $584,913.[37]


The Chicago Tribune (03/01/09) refreshed their Editorial Board endorsement of Fifth District Congressional candidate Mike Quigley in the March 3rd, 2009 Special Primary Election in the face of candidate Sara Feigenholtz's well-funded advertising campaign.

     "There are a lot of Democrats running in the 5th Congressional District and a lot of them have been throwing mud in the last few weeks. Democratic voters might be growing weary, and even a bit confused.

     Let's bring it down to this. If you're a Democrat and you want a candidate with solid Democratic values, you can almost throw a dart at the ballot. Almost all of them qualify.

     If you're a Democrat and you want a candidate who fights every day against the corruption and ineptitude that plagues State and local government, you have one candidate: Cook County CommissionerMike Quigley.

    The Tribune has endorsed Quigley because he has spent 10 years on the board challenging the political status quo. He led the fight against Cook County Board President Todd Stroger's 1 percentage-point sales-tax increase. He blocked Stroger's attempt this year to borrow money to pay for even more of Cook County's bloated operation.

     He has sought to protect taxpayers and to provide better health care and other services in Cook County. He has been a leader on the environment and human rights.

     We watched Quigley at a news conference on Friday, fending off a negative ad blitz from Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, one of his opponents, who has questioned his reform credentials. Quigley has thrown some barbs her way too. We're not going to dissect all these attacks.

     We'll just pick up a quote from Cook County Commissioner Forrest Claypool, who has also been stalwart in his efforts to clean up county government

     "For 10 years Mike Quigley has stood up to the Stroger political machine," Claypool said at the Friday presser. "He was first on the beach. He led the way ... to suggest otherwise is patently absurd."[38]


The Chicago Sun Times (02/28/09)columnist & Channel 5 WMAQ political editor Carol Marin writes about one of the Fifth District Congressional candidates--State Representative John Fritchey--using exerpts from one of her earlier columns in Fritchey's campaign mailer:

     "Memo to Fritchey about Quigley

     Fifth Congressional District candidate John Fritchey sent a note of apology. Fritchey quoted me in a campaign mailer but misspelled my last name in the attribution. No problem, John.

     The problem was the selective use of my words regarding your opponent, Mike Quigley, about whom I have written a lot....

     The criticism of Quigley at the time was that despite his long history of reform as a commissioner on the Cook County Board, he had tried to find common ground with its hopeless president, Todd Stroger, exacting promises of more transparency in return. It didn't work out the couple of times Quigley tried, and he quickly went back to being the ferocious voice of opposition.

     But make no mistake: Quigley is a reformer.

     And if State Rep. Fritchey, who also properly lays claim to some reform credentials, is going to throw stones for working with un-reformers from time to time, he better be careful. After all, one of his big backers in this candidate-clogged race for Rahm Emanuel's old seat is none other than Dick Mell, the alderman, ward boss and infamous father-in-law who was instrumental in giving us Rod Blagojevich as governor before he later turned on his ingrate son-in-law.

     So for the record, no candidate in this race survives living in a glass house. But Quigley has been the real deal.

     And you can sign that anyway you want -- Martin or Marin.[39]


CBS WBBM NewsRadio 780 AM (02/28/09) features the best of February 23, 2009 Northeastern Illinois University Fifth District Congressional forum from 9:00am till 9:00pm, Sunday March 1st, 2009. Hear the best ideas for the nation's future from the field of 23 candidates representing the Green, Republican & Democratic Parties.[40]


The Chicago Sun Times (02/27/09) reporter Abdon M. Pallasch nails down Fifth District Congressional candidate & 40th Ward Alderman Patrick O'Connor for O'Connor's campaign mailings which opponents say appear to imply the support of former Congressman Rahm Israel Emanuel.

     "Is Mayor Daley's "unofficial floor leader" claiming "unofficial endorsements" from Rahm Emanuel and Sen. Dick Durbin?

     No, no, no, Ald. Patrick O'Connor (40th) is not trying to imply any endorsement by Durbin or Emanuel -- the man he hopes to replace in Congress -- by running their photos and testimonials in his campaign literature, a spokesman said.    

     "These are not endorsements -- these are taken from letters they have written during his time as alderman," said O'Connor spokesman Phil Molfese. The comments are undated.

     Durbin and Emanuel both emphasized through spokesmen Thursday that they have made no endorsements among the 12 Democrats running in Tuesday's primary for the congressional seat Emanuel left to become President Obama's chief of staff.

     Nor should anything be read into the campaign sign in Emanuel's front yard for O'Connor rival state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, Emanuel's spokesman said. Emanuel lives at the North Side home with his wife, Amy Rule, and their children. Feigenholtz had no comment on her sign in the Emanuels' front lawn.

     Another piece of O'Connor literature Thursday ran a blow-up of a sentence from a Sun-Times story that appears to say the Sun-Times predicts O'Connor will be able to work collaboratively with President Obama. O'Connor's flier omits the "O'Connor said" from the sentence, which would have shown that it was O'Connor -- not the Sun-Times -- predicting that he would be able to work collaboratively with Obama.

     Next to that, O'Connor's flier runs an undated Chicago Tribune story in which then-columnist David Axelrod, who is now a senior Obama adviser, compliments O'Connor. Axelrod left the Tribune 25 years ago.

     "It's disingenuous but it's an old game," rival candidate Mike Quigley said of O'Connor's fliers.

     Asked for his response, Axelrod said, "I predicted the Bears would win the Superbowl in 1985."[41]


The Chicago Sun Times (02/27/09) columnist Rich Miller explores the role that many of the lower spending Fifth District Congressional candidates will have upon the electoral prospects of the big spenders.

     "Almost nobody wants to make a prediction about the 5th Congressional District special election this coming Tuesday.

     A crowded field, very high numbers of undecided voters, a lack of news coverage (particularly by the TV stations) and the fact that none of the candidates has really caught fire all add up to puzzlement for handicappers.

     The guesstimates I'm getting from the campaigns have Democratic turnout at between 35,000 and 40,000 -- about a quarter to a third of those who voted in the last primary. Somebody could win with as few as 10 thousand or 12 thousand votes. So you can make a case for any number of candidates.

     Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley started the race way ahead in the polls, and he's still at or near the top. That means he'll do well with people who believe it's their duty to vote in every election but are still vague about their final choice. He has a loyal cadre of workers, and his campaign believes they have identified more than enough supporters to win. They just have to get them to the polls.

     State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz has spent the most money by far, both on her own and through huge independent expenditures on her behalf by the Service Employees International Union and EMILY's List. Women often tend to vote for women, and women dominate Democratic primaries. Feigenholtz's campaign has been almost purely targeted at female voters, so she'll get lots of votes from undecided women. Feigenholtz also has a big field operation and enthusiastic support in the gay community.

     Like Quigley and Feigenholtz, state Rep. John Fritchey's base is in the eastern end of the district near the lake. But Fritchey also has the backing of ward and township organizations that control more than half the precincts in the district. Yeah, the Machine ain't what it used to be, and there are still questions about how hard some of these committeemen want to work, but the reality is that if each of his precinct captains secures 30 to 50 voters, then Fritchey wins this thing.

     There's a small potential for an upset by a "second-tier" candidate, but they will more likely be spoilers for one or more of the top candidates.[42]


NBC Channel 5 WMAQ-TV (02/26/09) reporter Steve Rhodes scrutinizes two recent Chicago daily newspaper endorsements of one of the twenty three candidates vying to replace Congressman Rahm Emanuel who resigned to become President Barack Obama's Chief of Staff.

     "Both the Tribune and the Sun-Times have made their endorsements in the Democratic primary race to replace Rahm Emanuel in Congress, and they've both picked the same candidate to back: Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley.


     Let's take a look.

     "[Quigley] has an outstanding record of independent, reform-minded performance in office," the Tribune says.      "Quigley has been a forceful, persistent critic of Cook County Board President Todd Stroger."

     Some of Quigley's opponents beg to differ, but that makes the Tribune editorial board's view all the more compelling, given that it has been the biggest critic of Cook County government for years.

     "Quigley has done exhaustive work on how county government could provide better health care and other services to people in far more efficient and cost-effective ways," the Trib says. "His reports on how to improve county government are without parallel in Illinois politics."

     Yes, but what kind of congressman would he be?

     "He will take that same laserlike focus on effective, efficient and compassionate government to Washington.

     "There is more to him than his work on government reform. Quigley has an outstanding record on human rights, health care and the environment. (The Reader said he’s 'arguably the greenest elected official in Chicago.') He has sound ideas on reviving the U.S. economy, on national health care, on how to put people back to work."[43] (02/26/09) reporter Alex Keefe highlights hefty fund-raising & spending among three of the most prolific Democratic Party candidates in the Fifth District Congressional Special Primary Election on Chicago's Northside & in the near Northwest Chicago suburbs.




Democrat Sara Feigenholtz has been the top spender in the 5th Congressional District race, according to recent filings with the FEC and local TV stations.



State rep. John Fritchey has been the second biggest spender, according to the most recent figures available. 



Democratic Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley is third in the spending race, according to recent filings.

     Mailing 45,000 voters to tell them you like to squirt ketchup on your hot dogs: $25,000.

     Buying a 30-second political television ad during the 10 o’clock news: $2,800.

Winning the March 3 special primary to fill Rahm Emanuel’s congressional seat: Priceless, apparently, but getting to that point certainly isn’t.

     When it comes to financing these campaigns, the top candidates running for Emanuel's seat in the 5th Congressional District special election like to emphasize how much cash they’ve raised and how much they have “on hand”—that is, money in the bank.

     Democrat Sara Feigenholtz currently has the fundraising lead, with more than $570,000 raised, according to her most recent filings with the Federal Election Commission. She’s also lent her campaign $100,000, and the Service Employees International Union recently pledged another $250,000 to buy television spots on her behalf.

     Democrat John Fritchey has raised more than $500,000; Mike Quigley, also a Democrat, is third in the money race, with nearly $415,000 raised.

     Looking at where campaigns are spending their money can tell you a lot about their strategy and their chances of winning. In most campaigns, the bulk of the money goes toward what politicos call “voter outreach.” That includes television ads, automated phone calls and things like Fritchey’s full-color mailer admitting his love of ketchup on hot dogs, a culinary faux pas in Chicago. 

     Although the junk mail may get thrown out and the TV commercials surfed over, that kind of voter contact could play an especially critical role during this truncated special election."[44]


Windy City Media Group (02/25/09) Scores Fifth District Congressional candidate responses to sixteen questions of vital concern to readers & Internet site viewers.


WIND-AM 560 (02/27/09)"Overnight Chicago" radio talkshow host Geoff "The Pinkster" Pinkus invited all 23 Fifth District Congressional candidates to join him to discuss the issues in the March 3rd Special Primary Election campaign between midnight & 3:00pm. Those accepting his invitation included: Democratic Party candidates Jan Donatelli & Cary Caparelli. Republicans included Rosanna Pulido, Jon Stewart & Dr. David Anderson PhD. Finally, four of the five Green Party candidates accepted the invitation: Deb Gordils; Matthew Reichel, Simon Robeiro & former downstate news broadcaster & candidate Mark Arnold Fredrickson. (02/27/09)web log blogger Emma Dumain predicts that candidates must compete with a big lineup of salacious news makers to gain traction for their hefty commercial buys in the crowded Fifth District Congressional Special Primary Election campaign,

     "Chicago’s North Side will be bone-chillingly cold during the final days before the special election primary on March 3. But the nearly two dozen candidates to succeed Rep. Rahm Emanuel have no choice but to pound that pavement.

     Both parties’ fields are jam-packed because of the unexpected opportunity created when Emanuel left his seat in Congress to become White House chief of staff.

     There are 12 candidates just in the Democratic primary, which will produce the odds-on favorite for the April 7 general election in the overwhelmingly Democratic Fifth Congressional District.

     The outcome in such a crowded field is hard to predict because of the uncertainty about how many people will show up at the polls.


ABC Channel 7 WLS-TV (02/27/09) reporter Alan Krashesky examines the six Republican Party Fifth District Party candidates vying for their party's nomination in the Special Primary Election scheduled March 3rd, 2009.[45] (02/27/08) web log blogger Adam Doster reports that Fifth District Congressional Democratic Party candidate Tom Goeghegan has filed suit demanding a that US Senator Roland Burris' US Senate seat be put up for a Special Election prior to the end of his January, 2011 term.

     If the General Assembly or the U.S. Senate Ethics Committee isn’t prepared to unseat Sen. Roland Burris, labor lawyer and 5th Congressional District candidate Tom Geoghegan is ready to take on the fight.

     At a press conference at the Dirksen Federal Building this morning, Geoghegan -- along with co-counsels Scott Frankel, Rob Cohen, and former alderman Marty Oberman -- announced that he has filed a suit in federal court against the state of Illinois and Gov. Pat Quinn seeking a special election for the US Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama.


[ is sponsored by the Service Employees International Union. SEIU has endorsed attorney Geoghegan's Democratic Party rival--State Representative Sara Feigenhotz.] (02/26/09) web log illustrates the perceived strengths of the biggest spender running Democratic Party candidates in the Fifth District Congressional race.


     "When voters go to the polls on March 3, they'll find a dozen Democratic candidates on the ballot: a crowded field of elected officials, activists, and outsiders.  Last week, we narrowed this pool down to the five campaigns that have raised the most money according to available FEC reports.  We then pored over their statements on a variety of issues and attempted to identify the relevant distinctions.

     In the week since, we've taken a long, hard look at these five candidates' policy positions, their professional backgrounds, and the way they've conducted their respective campaigns.  Using this wide-angle view, we've determined that three of them are best qualified to advance a progressive agenda in Congress.[47]


ABC Channel 7 WLS-TV (02/26/09) reporter Alan Krashesky questions the origin of a promotion campaign sign posted on the lawn of President Obama's Chief of Staff & former Congressman Rahm Israel Emanuel. Democratic Party candidate Sara Feigenholtz declines whether a member of Emanuel's family approved the Feigenholtz sign placement or whether an overenthusiastic campaign claimed this "beachhead."


The Chicago Tribune (02/26/09) Associated Press reporter Deanna Bellandi observers that "Who(m)ever ends up winning former Rep. Rahm Emanuel's congressional seat in a special election has some catching up to do.

     Congress is already in session and key legislation has been passed, chiefly a massive $787 billion stimulus package that will mean a cash infusion for states like Illinois strapped by the recession.

     High on the to-do list for Emanuel's replacement will be making sure the 5th Congressional District — stretching from Chicago's wealthy North Side lakefront to ethnic enclaves on the northwest side and neighboring Cook County suburbs — gets its fair share of government largesse.

     "Obviously, you want to be there in the thick of things to fight for everything you can," said Democratic candidate and state Rep. John Fritchey. Fritchey is among a dozen Democrats vying for his party's nomination in a March 3 special primary for a shot at the seat Emanuel left in January to become President Barack Obama's chief of staff.

     The primary pits well-known Chicago Democrats against each other from Fritchey and his colleague state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz to Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley and longtime Chicago Alderman Patrick O'Connor. A reliably Democratic district withWrigley Field as one of its landmarks, the upcoming primary will winnow a field that also includes sixRepublicans and five Green Party candidates.[48]


The Chicago Tribune (02/26/09) reporter John McCormick casts Fifth District Congressional Democratic Party candidate Sara Feigenholtz's signature issue as being health care.

     "Though there are two medical doctors in the contest, none of the Democrats seeking to succeed Rahm Emanuel in Congress talks more about health care than state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz.

     After years of leading a key social spending panel in Springfield, she quickly can slip into the topic's bureaucratic buzz, rattling off abbreviations for numerous programs and funding mechanisms.

     Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) comes by it naturally. Her mother, who adopted her as a newborn, was a doctor.

     "She used to treat people in our kitchen, right on the table," she recently told supporters regarding her mother's charitable acts in their North Side neighborhood.

     The many maternal mentions Feigenholtz is making during the campaign carry the political benefit of appealing to older women, a key demographic in the March 3 special primary in the 5th Congressional District.

     As one of just two women among the dozen Democrats, Feigenholtz has not been shy about playing gender politics in a district that includes much of the North and Northwest Sides and some near northwest suburbs.

     Shortly after announcing her congressional bid in the heavily Democratic district, she won the backing of EMILY's List, a powerful national fundraising organization that supports female candidates.

     The Service Employees International Union also is spending at least $275,000 to boost her candidacy, a sum larger than what many of the other candidates have raised themselves. The labor union also was a big backer ofRod Blagojevich, who was driven from office after his December arrest on political corruption charges.[49]


The Chicago Tribune (02/26/09) reporter compares one of the most prolific fund-raisers running to become the next Congressman representing the Fifth District of Illlinois with that of his predecessor--former Congressman, State Representative and, more recently, Governor Milorod "Rod" Blagojevich.     

     "Like his predecessor in the Illinois House, John Fritchey is trying to jump from Springfield to Washington running as a reformer.

     And much like then-state Rep. Rod Blagojevich did in his bid for Congress, Fritchey enjoys the backing of a politically connected father-in-law, other clout-heavy Democratic North Side ward bosses and many labor unions.

     But Fritchey said that's where the similarities end between him and the allegedly corrupt former governor.

     "I've put more time and energy into trying to clean up not only local politics here but also state politics than any legislator you can find," said Fritchey, one of 12 Democrats in the March 3 special primary for the U.S. House seat vacated by Rahm Emanuel when he became President Barack Obama's chief of staff. 

     Fritchey said he has proved his clean-government zeal as a vocal Blagojevich critic in recent years and as chief sponsor of more than "two dozen pieces of reform legislation" since he was elected to replace Blagojevich in the General Assembly in 1996.

     Foremost, Fritchey said, is a new law banning major state contractors from donating to statewide elected officeholders who assign the contracts. He also pushed for a 2003 ethics law that created the state inspector general, restricted officials from moving to jobs with companies they regulate and barred public officials from promoting themselves in taxpayer-paid public service announcements.

     Still, Fritchey said his congressional campaign is the target of critics who have made him "a victim of insinuation" and "try to paint me as a product of ward organizations."[50]


NBC Channel 5 WMAQ-TV (02/25/09) reports that two of the twelve Democratic Party candidates seeking their party's nomination in the March 3rd, 2009 Special Primary Election for the vacant Fifth District Congressional seat once shared more than the same Belmont Avenue 44th Ward Office.

     "The two top candidates to replace Rahm Emanuel in the 5th District -- Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley and State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz -- used to be a lot closer than they are now.

     Quigley and Feigenholtz were once an item when they were both working in the 44th Ward, the Sun-Times reported.

     The short-lived relationship happened early on in their careers and ended amicably, but one wonders if that relationship has deteriorated somewhat since then -- considering they're running against each other in the primary that takes place next week.[51]


ABC Channel 7 WLS-TV (02/25/09) reporter Alan Krashesky tells Fifth District Congressional Democratic Primary voters about six of the candidates in the March 3rd, 2009 Special Primary Election.[52] Nadig (02/25/09) newspaper columnist & attorney Russ Stewart doubts that the turnout in the Fifth District Democratic Party Congessional nominee will earn much of a March 3rd, 2009 voter mandate going up against the Republican & Green Party nominees in the April 7th Special General Election.[53]


The New York Times (02/25/09) reporter Katharine Q. Seelye underscores the diversity in the field of 23 Fifth District Congressional Special Primary Election on March 3rd, 2009.

     "The Fifth Congressional District on Chicago’s North Side, a Democratic stronghold, has a history of electing larger-than-life representatives — Dan Rostenkowski, one of the most powerful members of Congress before he pleaded guilty to mail fraud in 1996 and served 15 months in federal prison; Rod R. Blagojevich, the erstwhile governor who was driven from office after skipping his own impeachment trial and faces federal corruption charges; and Rahm Emanuel, the head-knocking former Clinton White House aide who soared to power in the House before stepping down to become chief of staff to President Obama.

     Now, voters in the district are preparing to choose their next representative, and the race is a free-for-all that has drawn a disparate field of 23 candidates, some with no political experience.

     “How do you follow Rostenkowski and Blagojevich and Emanuel?” asked David N. Wasserman, who studies House races for The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan newsletter. “What will this person be notorious for?”

     In a special primary on Tuesday, voters will choose among 12 candidates on the Democratic ballot, six on the Republican ballot and five for the Green Party. Whoever wins the Democratic primary is all but certain to win the special general election on April7.[54]


NBC Channel 5 WMAQ-TV (02/25/09) reporter Steve Rhodes claims he's overwhelmed by unsolicited e-mail press releases pouring in from many of the 23 Fifth District Congressional candidates vying for the seat vacated by now Obama Administration Chief of Staff Rahm Israel Emanuel.

     "Now, to be fair, I'm not on the e-mail lists of every candidate running to replace Rahm Emanuel in Congress from the 5th District.

     In fact, I haven't signed up to be on the e-mail list of a single candidate (well, after talking to a representative of one campaign, we agreed that she would double-check to make sure I was on their list). But that doesn't mean my inbox isn't full.

     I thought I would summarize the last few days of the campaign from the prism of said inbox.[55] (02/24/09) web log blogger Josh Kalven shares the latest SEIU television advertising 30-second spot promoting the candidacy of Sara Feigenholtz, State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias' endorsement of John Fritchey & a hearty vote of support for fellow Fifth District Congressional candidate Tom Geoghegan.

     "Tom Geoghegan has also received some support on the national stage from two high-profile writers, neither of whom are progressives: U.S. News & World Report's Michael Barone (who cites his "intellectual honesty") and Slate's Mickey Kaus (who calls him a "big-thinking reformer").

     On the 23rd of February, candidate Charlie Wheelan rolls out his humorous campaign commercial, while earlier endorsing President Barack Obama's $787 Billion economic stimulus.[56]


[the Service Employees International Union sponsors the Internet web log blog & has formerly endorsed Fifth District Congressional candidate Sara Feigenholtz.] (02/24/09) web log blogger David Ormsby catches Fifth District Congressional Democratic Party candidate State Representative John Fritchey pitching the Polish pre-lenten pastry Paczkis elicit voter support in a crowded field of 23 Congressional candidates. 

     "In the Illinois 5th C.D. special election, State Rep. John Fritchey has pledged, if elected, to bring needed Federal money and projects–pork–back to the congressional district to benefit residents.

     In a down payment of sorts, Fritchey is now plying residents with Paczkis. [@ the Jefferson Park Blue Line CTA stop, just down the street from 45th Ward Alderman Patrick Levar--one of Fritchey's RDO supporters.][57] (02/24/09) web log blogger Ben Joravsky's "Chicago Clout" examines the motivation behind one bowling alley buddy's decision to support 40th Ward Alderman Patrick O'Connor over other candidates.

     "At the bowling alley on Monday I ask my old buddy, Bobby, who he plans to vote for to fill Rahm Emanuel's vacancy in the Fifth Congressional District.

     "Pat O'Connor," he says.

     This catches me by surprise. Bobby's almost rabid in his opposition to Mayor Daley. He calls the mayor a "tyrant" and constantly urges me to write articles about how Daley's fines, fees, and taxes are making people broke. Yet O'Connor is Daley's City Council floor leader.

     "Why would you vote for O'Connor?" I ask.

     "I hate Fritchey's crowd," he says, referring to aldermen Richard Mell, William Banks, and Patrick Levar, who have endorsed state rep John Fritchey.[58]


Chicago Sun Times (02/24/09) reporter Abdon M. Pallasch notes that the Service Employees International Union plans to get involved in the Fifth District Congressional race by betting a $250,000 advertising campaign that their endorsed candidate--Sara Feigenholtz--will best her leading opponents.

     How will voters view this last minute intervention in what, up to this point, has been a candidate-financed open Democratic Primary Election campaign?

     "Just days after State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz announced she was going to loan her campaign $100,000, the Service Employees International Union has said it will spend a quarter of a million dollars on television commercials for her.

     "I just heard," Feigenholtz said at a candidates' forum on the North Side Monday night. "It's really going to help me get my message out."

     In fund-raising, Feigenholtz already led the 12 Democrats seeking to replace U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel in the March 3 primary election.

     Feigenholtz' nearest opponents by fund-raising standards -- State Rep. John Fritchey (D-Chicago) and Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley -- say this is a sign that her campaign can't pull ahead.

     "Every poll I've heard or seen, we're ahead," Quigley said. "We've been outspent. We're winning, we'll be outspent."[59]




Channel 7 WLS-TV (02/23/09) news planner Eugene Ullrich reports on how Fifth District Congressional candidates replied to audience questions concerning immigration policy, campaign finance reform, housing & other priorities facing the winner of an April 7th, 2009 Special Election.

     "More than a dozen candidates vying for the 5th District congressional seat attended a forum on Monday night on the North Side.

     The forum at Northeastern Illinois University included Democratic, Republican and Green party candidates. They're all hoping to win next week's special primary election to fill the seat left vacant by Rahm Emanuel who left to become President Obama's chief of staff.

     The forum was hosted by several immigrant advocacy groups and community organizations. The special primary election will be Tuesday, March 3 with the special general election coming on April 7.[60]


[The Wall Street Journal reported December 11th, 2008 that FBI agents visited the residence of the Chicago SEIU leader Tom Balanoff on the same morning that FBI agents arrested Governor Milorod "Rod" Blagojevich.][61]


The Chicago Tribune (02/23/09) endorsed Republican Party Fifth District Congressional candidate commercial attorney & lecturer Greg Bedell in the March 3rd, 2009 Special Primary Election.

     "Nevertheless, Republicans have a spirited campaign going for the March 3 special primary election.

     Our endorsement goes to Gregory "Greg" Bedell, a Chicago attorney who is making his first run for office. Bedell, 49, says the Republican Party in recent years lost its way because it abandoned its bedrock values: low taxes, responsible spending and reasonable regulation. He wants government to gtake a careful, restrained approach to health care, financial regulation, trade & other issues.

     Bedell says the government should provide a safety net for Americans who are hurting in the economic downturn by extending jobless benefits and providing emergency funding for Medicaid and Medicare. But he says Congress shouldn't try to fix the domestic auto industry with a huge commitment of taxpayer dollars and has to avoid the temptation to resort to trade protectionism.

     There are five other candidates in the race: Jon Stewart; an auto dealer; businessman David Anderson; Rosanna Pulido, and advocate for senior citizens entrepreneuer Daniel S. Kay (Karkusiewicz); and businessman Tom Hanson.

     The Chicago Tribune reached out to the five candidates running in the Green Party primary and interviewed two of them (Deb Gordils & Mark Arnold Fredrickson). We make no endorsement.[62]


The Chicago Sun Times (02/23/09) columnist Laura Washington explores the Democratic Party candidacy of one of the Fifth District Congressional candidate--labor lawyer Tom Geoghegan.

     "The 5th Congressional District race is Chicago's very own stimulus package. On the Democratic (and likely winning) side, 14 candidates are furiously burning through the bucks. This crowd has raised at least 2.5 million shekels. That buys gobs of commercials, robocalls, mailers and consultants.

     The biggest cash cows are Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley and state Representatives Sara Feigenholtz and John Fritchey, all seasoned political hands. Quigley and Feigenholtz share a common constituency. They are pitching good government and reform to the so-called lakefront liberals, aka the denizens of Lincoln Park, Lake View and other territories east of Western Avenue in the North Side district.

     There's an interloper in these environs. He's stealing voters' attentions and affections. He could throw the race into the arms of Fritchey, the progressives' No. 1 villain. That interloper is the wiry-framed Tom Geoghegan, the labor movement's Don Quixote.[63] (02/23/09) Chicago Tribune reporters

     Voters in the 5th Congressional District probably can thank federal prosecutors for the unusually large field of candidates in the March 3 special primary for a vacant seat in Congress.

     The last time the district had to pick a new lawmaker seven years ago, political workers came from across Chicago to help Rahm Emanuel win the Democratic nomination.

     Motivated by promises of city jobs, the workers aggressively campaigned door-to-door and manned phone banks for Emanuel, a former campaign aide to Mayor Richard Daley and Clinton White House staffer.

     Since then, U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald's City Hall hiring fraud probe effectively neutered the patronage armies directed by Daley's top aides.

     Now the mayor says he's unlikely to endorse any of the candidates who want to replace Emanuel, President Barack Obama's

White House chief of staff. And Emanuel has declined to publicly wade into the race.Seeking to fill this post-patronage power vacuum are 12 Democrats, [four of these Democratic Party candidates were interviewed by the Chicago Tribune in one sitting, while another six bigger advertising buying Democratic Party candidates were interviewed earlier.] Republicans and five Green Party candidates running for a post that has been held by some of the city's most famous and infamous politicians. 

     "This is a total free-for-all," said Dan Rostenkowski who long represented the district until corruption charges ended his tenure as arguably the most powerful lawmaker Chicago ever sent to Washington.[64]

     [NWACO reports that City of Chicago & Cook County employees, formerly associated with the Hispanic Democratic Organization, remain active in the Fifth Congressional District supporting Regular Democratic Organization Chicago Ward endorsed candidates as well as Spanish-speaking independent candidates. Field reports confine this campaigning to the following Chicago Wards: 30th; 31st; 33rd; 35th & 39th.][65] (02/22/09) web log blog Illinoize (Illinois Politics with the twist of the knife) admonishes the Chicago media for leaving it to the Internet web log bloggers to cover this Fifth District Congressional congested Special Primary Election race.

     "Obviously (if you're reading this), we care, but that's not necessarily transferable to the electorate. While a number of blogs have picked up the slack left by the major media's considerable disinterest in the race (except to complain about not getting their calls returned), most voters are more likely to be aware of the major absense of coverage by the local newspapers (and broadcast media) than the coverage on the internet. I walked into two campaign headquarters this week where I found the same phenomenon -- people walking by wondering what was going on inside (I believe both had tons of campaign signs in their windows).

     There is a reason for this. The major media in Chicago has let the electorate down. There's been a lot more coverage of the Chicago Auto Show than there has of the special election. Granted, the papers will probably make more money off the Auto Show and Chicago's media isn't exactly top tier. It has to be easier to cover a presidential election because there is so much other media there and the Chicago outlets can just ride along with the pack. Coverage of this election would have required original reportage. When was the last time you read or heard something *original* from the Chicago-based media. You can take awhile to think about it. But we can stop pretending that the media here acts as some kind of Fourth Estate, pursuing the public interest and keeping us informed about important matters of the day. It's why corruption is so prolific -- and ignored -- here. But the Auto Show (and before that, the Circus) is in town![66] (02/21/09) web log blogger Jesse Greenberg notes that media advertising appears unique to each of the three candidates who have launched television & print campaigns. Among those featured are Charles Wheelan, John Fritchey & Sara Feigenholtz.[67] (02/21/09) web log interviews four of the men running for the Democratic Party Fifth Congressional District nomination in the March 3rd, 2009 Special Primary Election. Featured are the campaigns of the following candidates: Dr. Victor Forys; Mike Quigley; Tom Geoghegan & Dr. Paul Bryar.[68]


Chicago Sun Times (02/21/09) reporter Abdon M. Pallasch notes that Fifth Congressional District Democratic Party candidate Sara Feigenholtz leads with $550,00 eight other Democratic Party candidates who have filed their Federal Election Commission campaign finance spending reports as of Thursday, February 19, 2009. [69] (02/21/09) web log blogger who features his digital still image sans his signature encourages voters to cast their ballots in the March 3rd, 2009 Primary as if it is the main election "Several of my friends live in Illinois' fine 5th congressional district and so I wanted to talk a little bit about the election we've got coming up really quick.  This is a special election to replace Rahm Emanuel who's now working as Chief of Staff for the Obama administration.  So there's going to be two votes coming up.  The primary on March 3rd and then the general election will follow on April 7th."[70] (02/19/09) web log bloggers & reporters John McCormick & Dan Mihalopoulos wrap up the mounting fund-raising raising in the Fifth Congressional District Special Primary Election scheduled for March 3rd, 2009.[71]


Chicago Tribune (02/19/09) Editorial Board member Patricia "Pat" Widder interviewed two of the five Green Party Fifth Congressional District Green Party candidates. Both Deb Leticia Gordilis & Mark Arnold Fredrickson predicted that the $787 Billion "economic stimulus" legislation passed by Congress would burden generations of taxpayers, while failing to address the real cause of constrained credit--the "meltdown" of a $65Trillion market in shared "counter-party" risk created by "credit default swaps."

     Green Party candidate Deb Leticia Gordils, a welfare-to-work reformer, questioned whether hard-pressed families will ever benefit directly from another "trickle down" government spending while billions are spent on wasteful earmarks.

     Green Party candidate Mark Arnold Fredrickson explains why his recent corporate law firm experience helps him to understand the tough challenges facing corporate Chief Financial Officers.

     Fredrickson opposes giving the Big Three automakers "one more dime" without first securing debtor-in-possession financing & packaging a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition. Fredrickson explained that automotive industry bailouts will protect corporate bondholders at the expense of taxpayers, while doing little to prevent hundreds of thousands of autoworker layoffs:

          1) the average American corporation carries an average of eight cents of debt "off the balance sheets" for evern dollar of debt declared;[72]

          2) Chief Financial Officers work to increase shareholder value by carefully balancing bondholder debt & shareholder equity. Giving billions of dollars to these manufacturers may not help enough to service escalating corporate debt service costs. [73]

          3) Increased interest rate expense for short-term borrowing made it more costly for many large corporations to borrow to make weekly payroll.

     Fredrickson urged corporate CFOs to follow, if they must, the lead of one Lake County employer who retained many of its employees by sharing the pain of payroll cost reduction instead of increasing layoffs. "Big layoffs demoralize retained employees left to shoulder the remaining work. Early reports of increased service & manufacturing productivity may discourage companies from re-hiring five million laid-off employees & making for a "jobless recovery," Fredrickson predicted. [74]


Chicago Tribune (02/18/09) Editorial Board member Patricia "Pat" Widder questioned four of the five Republican Party Fifth Congressional District candidates vying for their Party's nomination in the March 3rd, 2009 Special Election. From left to right Rosanna Pulido, Jon Stewart, Daniel Kay & Greg Bedell[75]


Chicago Tribune (02/18/09) featured six of the twelve Democratic Party candidates in the Fifth District Congressional Special Primary Election to replace Congressman Rahm Emanuel who joined recently elected Barack Obama as his Chief of Staff. From left to right: Commissioner Mike Quigley, Representative John Fritchey, Alderman Pat O'Connor; Representative Sara Feigenholtz; Tom Geoghan & Charlie Wheelan. [76]


Chicago Tribune (02/18/09) featured four of the twelve Democratic Party candidates in the Fifth District Congressional Special Primary Election to replace former Congressman & now Presidential Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. Sitting from left to right are the following: Commissioner Cary Caparelli, Jan Donatelli, Dr. Paul Bryar & Dr. Carlos Monteagudo. [77] (02/19/09) free lance journalist Silvana Taberes invites eight of the 23 Fifth Congressional District candidates on the March 3rd, 2009 Special Primary Election ballot to share a little bit about themselves with print edition readers & web site visitors. [78]


ABC WLS-Television Channel 7 News (02/19/09) interviews 22 of the 23 Democratic, Republican & Green Party candidates running to become the next Represenative in Congress from the Fifth Congressional District on Chicago's Northwest Side and in the Northwest suburbs south of O'Hare International Airport.      The WLS-TV news planner--questioned one of the Green Party candidates--Mark Arnold Fredrickson--about why should any independent party candidate dare oppose well-funded opponents Democratic Party opponents?

     Fredrickson echoed the suggestions of the only other University of Chicago economist seeking the Democratic Party nomination--Charles Wheelan--and explained that "Congressional passage of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act dramatically increases the Federal debt to almost 60% of the Gross Domestic Product without any guarantees that billions of dollars in federal spending will ease the credit crisis strangling corporate American & Main Street small businesspersons."

     "If the economic crisis is actually one of 'counter-party risk' instead of toxic illiquid assets sitting on the balance sheets of Wall Street banks, then we need to create a transparent exchange where the $62Trillion of credit defaul swaps may be marked-to-market to establish their value," Fredrickson suggested. "The best place to do this is in Chicago @ the CME Group--just blocks from my former law firm office." My fellow financial analysts need to know what their employers financial assets are worth," Fredrickson urged increased transparancy & regulation of this CDS insurance product.

     "The Public Broadcasting Service Frontline documentary explains this "systemic" risk to the global economy," Fredrickson recommended.

     Both Fredrickson & Wheelan oppose further Big Three automaker bailouts. During a Chicago Tribune Editorial Board interview (02/18/09), Fredrickson proposed a packaged bankruptcy plan once debtor-in-possession financing (DIP) is secured for the any one of the three major automobile manufactuters.

     Wheelan lectures public policy as an economist @ the University of Chicago, while Fredrickson's former law firm clients include some of America's leading corporations.


CBS WBBM-Television Channel 2 News interviews Fifth Congressional District candidate Charles Wheelan about how to make good on President Obama's inaugural challenge, "Let us pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down and remake America." [79]


CNN-Cable News Network "Issue # 1" Strategic planning may be the key to targeting economic stimulus spending as a means of reducing America's dependence on foreign oil sources, so said economist Charles Wheelan who authored the book "Naked Economics." [80] (02/18/09) web log blog (sans the author's name) concentrates on how many of the non-elective officeholder Democratic candidates may influence the outcome of the race for those four who hold elective offices ranging from Representative in the Illinois General Assembly to Cook County Board to Chicago City Council Alderman.

     "While everyone seems to have different takes on this race, I have to say that anyone who thinks they are sure where this all stands is overconfident, and don’t even get me started on Nate Silver’s piece–love Nate’s work, but that oversimplifies this race a bit too much.

     The biggest problem with a special election is no one knows who turns up and so polling is problematic because determining likely voters is nearly impossible. In addition, the effect of money is very different as well with typical carpet bombing not being nearly as successful.

     I’m not endorsing for now and this is purely analytical.  I know people on the first five campaigns and have all sorts of conflicts of interest, but they pretty much balance out with Feigenholtz’s campaign being the one I’m least connected to."[81] 


The Chicago Sun Times (02/18/09) reporter Abdon M. Pallasch notes the volunteer talent of eight first time Democratic Party candidates vying for the Fifth Congressional District seat being vacated by President Barack Obama's Chief of Staff--Rahm Israel Emanuel.

     "In addition to the four elected officials seeking to move up to Congress from Chicago's North Side, eight newcomers to the political scene are trying to make the leap in the March 3 Democratic primary election.

The pack of impressive resumes includes two medical doctors, a psychiatrist, a Harvard lawyer and University of Chicago economist.

"We have several longtime politicians in this race," Donatelli told about 30 supporters at a fund-raiser last week. "A question I get asked a lot is, 'Are you a politician?' " Voters are pleased to hear her answer "No," she said.

     University of Chicago lecturer Charlie Wheelan, 42, likewise tried to get mileage out of his newness to politics.

"I'm not somebody who's made a career out of politics, and I think that matters," Wheelan said. "Chicago has produced both Rod Blagojevich and Barack Obama but only one of them taught at the University of Chicago." Wheelan lectures on public policy. He literally wrote the book on making economics understandable: Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science.

     Wheelan also spent five years as the Chicago correspondent for The Economist magazine, headed Chicago Metropolis 2020 and wrote speeches for the governor of Maine.

     Tom Geoghegan, 60, pronounced "GAY-gun," uses the slogan "Hard to say. Easy to believe." Geoghegan, a Harvard-trained labor lawyer, has earned a national reputation and wrote three books including, Which Side Are You On?

A partner at the firm of Despres, Schwartz and Geoghegan with former Ald. Leon Despres, he represented people suing as victims of discrimination or unfair labor practices. His lawsuit forced International Harvester to give back pensions to 2,500 workers. His suit against Advocate Health Care resulted in their Chicago area hospitals having to treat low-income people for free or reduced rates.

     Perhaps the most liberal candidate in the race, Geoghegan speaks more forcefully than the other candidates of the need for a “single-payer” health care system “and that single payer has to be the United States government.”

     Dr. Victor Forys, 54, arrived in the U.S. from Poland at age 4. He grew up in Chicago, earned a medical degree at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He also studied in Poland, where he took part in early demonstrations that led to the Solidarity movement's overthrow of the communist government, he said. Forys says he wants to fix the nation's health care system and notes that in addition to being a doctor he is also a small businessman.

     As the only Polish candidate in the race, and one who hosts his own health-related talk show in Polish-language radio in Chicago, Forys says he sees plenty of enthusiasm for his candidacy in the district’s large Polish population. 

     So, in his professional opinion as a psychiatrist, does Dr. Carlos Monteagudo, 47, consider the U.S. Congress to be crazy? "The House is insane," Monteagudo said. "We need a doctor in the House. Our priorities in many ways have been screwed up."

Monteagudo's sister Lourdes served as Mayor Daley's education czar. He has practiced psychiatry here and in New York, where he lived from 2000 until last year, setting up SEED, a nonprofit to work for social change.

     A Cuban immigrant, Monteagudo said he was labelled as mentally challenged in 3rd grade because of his weakness in the English language.

     Dr. Paul Bryar, 41, is an eye surgeon who practices and teaches at Northwestern University. He also volunteers one day a week at the Near North Health Service Corp. clinic near Cabrini-Green. "Every week I see people without insurance, and I can tell you I will not give up on these people," he said. As with Forys and Monteagudo, fixing the nation's troubled health care system is high on Bryar's agenda.
     The namesake and great-nephew of former U.S. Rep. Frank Annunzio, this Annunzio, is general superintendent of construction for the Chicago Housing Authority.

     Congressional candidate Frank Annunzio, 48, peppers his comments with construction terms, saying, "The cornerstone of my campaign is campaign finance reform. A lot of people in this campaign will spend over $1 million for this seat and that's absurd."

     The son of longtime 41st Ward Democratic Committeeman and former state Rep. Ralph Capparelli, Cary Capparelli, 57, is a member of the Illinois International Port board of directors and is endorsed by several race-car stars and boxing champions.

He holds master's degrees in journalism and geography from Northwestern and Northeastern Illinois universities, and is working on a doctorate in geography from the University of London.[82] (02/17/09) web log blogger Rob Wildeboer asserts that "voters (are) clueless in the Fifth District."

5th district forum in Lakeview (WBEZ/Rob Wildeboer)

     "The primary election to replace Rahm Emanuel in the U.S. Congress is now just two weeks away. And early voting already started yesterday (Monday). Voters have plenty of choice in the race. In fact, they probably have too much choice.

     In all, there are 23 candidates on the ballot 12 democrats, 6 republicans and 5 green party candidates. But out in the district on Chicago's North Side, if you ask people about the election, the answers are pretty much the same."[83]


The Chicago Tribune (02/17/09) Editorial Board endorsed Fifth District Congressional Democratic Party candidate Mike Quigley.

     "The race to replace White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel in Congress has drawn nearly two dozen contenders, creating potential for a lot of voter confusion. Democrats will find a dozen candidates on the ballot for the March 3 primary. Heck, there are even spirited Republican and Green Party primaries in the solidly Democratic 5th Congressional District, which includes much of Chicago’s North and Northwest Sides and some adjacent suburbs.

     Democratic voters will have no trouble finding a reliable Democrat—there are several who fit comfortably in the party. We believe they will find one who believes in the party’s principles and has an outstanding record of independent, reform-minded performance in office. That is Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley, who is endorsed today in the Democratic primary.[84]


WLS-Television News (02/17/09) reporter Karen Jordan describes a "light" early voting for the Fifth Congressional District Special Election. Those who cast ballots may be limited to core voters such as 45th Ward Precint Captain & Clerk of the Circuit Court employee Gregory Witt who voted at the Cook County Building at 69 West Washington Boulevard in the Chicago Loop on Tuesday, February 16th. The brevitity of this campaign, multiplicity of candidates & apparent voter exhaustion after President Obama's election may combine to produce a light voter turnout according to one long-time election observer [85] (02/17/09) web log blogger Jesse Greenberg questions why the State of Illinois impeachment panel didn't follow Republican State Representative Jim Durkin's insistance that appointed US Senator Roland Burris be more forthcoming about conversations between Burris & impeached Governor Blagojevich's fund-raising brother. "As our appointed senator Roland Burris went through a second day fumbling through questions aimed at clarifying his contacts with Rod Blagojevich’s office prior to his appointment,  IL-5 contender, State Rep. John Fritchey might soon find himself under pressure to explain why he appeared to provide cover for Burris during his testimony before an Illinois General Assembly Committee.[86] (02/17/09) web log blogger Rich Miller reflects upon the recent Chicago Tribune endorsement of Fifth Congressional District Democratic Party candidate Mike Quigley, " The Chicago Tribune has just endorsed Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley in the 5th Congressional District race…

     Quigley has been a forceful, persistent critic of Cook County Board President Todd Stroger. Even better, Quigley has done exhaustive work on how county government could provide better health care and other services to people in far more efficient and cost-effective ways.

     His reports on how to improve county government are without parallel in Illinois politics. They’re not goo-goo yammer. They’re tightly researched and spot-on accurate in their assertions about best practices and likely savings. He produces facts, facts, facts. If Quigley’s ideas had all been put in place, the county would not be crying now for more money. […]

     There is more to him than his work on government reform. Quigley has an outstanding record on human rights, health care and the environment. (The Reader said he’s “arguably the greenest elected official in Chicago.”) He has sound ideas on reviving the U.S. economy, on national health care, on how to put people back to work.

     Quigley couldn’t have written that better himself. Notice how the line about Todd Stroger will help Quigley fend off attacks by Rep. Feigenholtz over his endorsement of Stroger and his support for Stroger’s first budget."[87] (02/16/09) includes a report from Beachwood Reporter web log blogger Steve Rhodes concerning State Represenative & Fifth Congressional District candidate John A. Fritchey as one of the "enablers" which helped elevate US Senator Roland Burris from lobbyist to legislator.[88]  


Minuteman Project (02/16/09) endorses Rosanna Pulido in her bid to win the Republican Party nomination in the Fifth Congressional District Special Primary Election March 3rd, 2009. "Minuteman PAC Honorary Chairman, Chris Simcox, today announced the PAC’s full endorsement of Rosanna Pulido (R-IL) to fill the Illinois 5th Congressional seat vacated by newly appointed White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel (D-IL). Simcox declared, “Rosanna Pulido has demonstrated a long-standing track record of fighting for secured borders and against the amnesty lobby so prevalent in the Chicago political machine. Rosanna is exactly the sort of person we need to be sending to Washington to stem the tide of handouts and amnesty to illegal aliens.” Rosanna Pulido is a life-long citizen of Illinois’ 5th congressional district and is among theleadership of Hispanic-Americans opposed to illegal immigration. Her decades-long service in the community is well-documented and represents a commitment and dedication to improving her state.[89]


The Chicago Sun Times (02/14/09) Mike Quigley gets the endorsement of The Chicago Sun Times in his bid for the March 3rd Democratic Party Fifth Congressional District Special Primary Election, while one of the other two State Representatives from State Senator John Cullerton's Ten State Senate District--Representative Sara Feigenholtz, University of Chicago public policy lecturer Charles Wheelan & labor lawyer Tom Geoghgan also get kudos.

     "Residents in the 5th Congressional District have it good. The wide-open race to fill the congressional seat left open by Rahm Emanuel, who left to become President Obama's chief of staff, could have attracted a parade of political hacks.

     Not so, this time.

     Voters will find a ballot filled with impressive and thoughtful candidates.

     Candidates such as state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, a passionate expert in health care.

     Or labor lawyer Tom Geoghegan, who has devoted his career to fighting for the little guy.

     Or especially Charlie Wheelan, a University of Chicago lecturer who combines a razor-sharp mind with a boatload of charm and an impressive expertise in economics and foreign policy. We expect great things from Wheelan in the future.

     With such a quality crop of candidates, we confess that choosing just one was tough, but in the end, a single candidate stood above the rest.

     The Chicago Sun-Times endorses Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley for the Democratic primary on March 3, which in this heavily Democratic district is effectively the election. "

     The Democratic Party nominee elected in the March 3rd, 2009 Democratic Primary election will oppose the Republican & Green Party nominees selected from a combined field of ten candidates from the two parties in the April 7th Special General Election.[90] (02/14/09) reporter Brett Anthony noted that Green Party Fifth Congressional Candidate Matt Reichel rallied same sex marriage proponents before they were arrested Saturday in a Gay Liberation Network protest staged at the Cook County Marriage Bureau to commemorate "Freedom to Marry Day." The protest, which resulted in the arrest of seven protestors, attracted more than one hundred protestors.

     "Openly gay State Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) introduced a bill on Feb. 4 to create the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act to provide eligible same-sex and opposite-sex couples with the same treatment as those in a civil marriage.

     On Jan. 14, State Rep. David Ries (R-Olney) introduced a bill calling for marriages to be defined only between a man and a woman. Illinois already has a law that prohibits same-sex marriages.

     GLN says despite having a state government completely dominated by the primarily gay-friendly Democratic Party, Illinois doesn't allow for civil unions, let alone marriage equality.

     Near the end of Saturday's rally, Matt Reichel, a Green Party congressional candidate for Rahm Emmanuel's Senate seat, addressed the crowd and supported full marriage equality. It was noted that Democratic San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome came out for issuing same-sex marriage licenses after a pro-equality Green mayoral candidate nearly beat the Democratic favorite.

     "In all honesty I had mixed feelings about participating in today's events. But I believe I would have regretted not taking this opportunity to stand up and speak up for the cause of equal marriage rights. Someone should stand up and challenge the County Clerk's office and put pressure on our elected officials through raising public support, so why not me," said Chu.

     Saturday's legal protest ended when the marriage license bureau closed at noon. The sit-in protesters remained and at about 4 p.m. Chicago police arrested them for Criminal Trespass, a Class C misdemeanor.

     The last of those arrested were released from the District 1 Chicago Police Headquarters at 2:15 a.m. Sunday.

     The seven protesters arrested will be in court at 1:30 PM on Monday, March 9th at Branch 43-4, 3150 W. Flournoy Street, Chicago. [91]


Crain's Chicago Business (02/13/09) reports that in the rush to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars, one of the candidate's in the Fifth Congressional District race may have called a long-time "friend," connected to a McCormick Place bid rigging conviction. "Controversial lobbyist Al Ronan has surfaced in the heated 5th Congressional District race, making a $500 campaign contribution to Democratic candidate Sara Feigenholtz in December.

          “Al Ronan is an old friend of mine. He’s not really involved in the campaign, he just made a contribution because he’s someone I called,” Ms. Feigenholtz said.

          Asked whether he’s providing her with advice as well, Ms. Feigenholtz said, “If you know anything about Al Ronan, all he has is advice. I’ve known Al for 30 years.”

          Ms. Feigenholtz’s aides insist Mr. Ronan has no formal role in the campaign.

          “Maybe she’s talked to him as a friend, but certainly he’s not providing any strategic guidance or anything like that,” said Ms. Feigenholtz’s campaign manager, Mike Rendina. “We’ve kept a pretty tight circle in the campaign . . . he’s not part of it.”

          Mr. Ronan’s former lobbying firm Ronan Potts LLC and one of its employees pleaded guilty in 2004 in a bid-rigging scheme at McCormick Place. Mr. Ronan wasn’t charged in the case, which involved Scott Fawell, a pal of Mr. Ronan’s and one-time aide to ex-Gov. George Ryan.

          Ronan Potts had a long list of clients, including Argosy Gaming Co., but the lobbying firm was disbanded after the scandal. Mr. Ronan - a former state lawmaker with a reputation as a behind-the-scenes powerbroker and fundraiser - has a new firm, Alfred G. Ronan Ltd. He couldn’t be reached for comment.

          Another candidate in the race, Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley, took $1,000 in donations from Mr. Ronan’s former company in 2001-02, Mr. Rendina noted. Another candidate, state Rep. John Fritchey, accepted a $200 contribution from a political action committee controlled by Mr. Ronan in 1995.

          “There’s a big difference between taking money from Ronan in the earlier part of the decade and now,” a spokesman for Mr. Quigley said. “There’s no way no how we’d take his money now.”

          Ms. Feigenholtz, a state legislator, is one of a dozen Democrats running in the March 3 special election primary. They are vying to replace Rahm Emanuel, who left Congress to become President Barack Obama’s chief of staff. The 5th Congressional District includes part of Chicago’s Northwest Side and west suburbs such as Schiller Park and Melrose Park. [92]


[Governor Rod Blagojevich's first election to State Representative came at the encouragement of his father-in-law Dick Mell as this 33rd Ward Alderman worked to consolidate his power & check the growing influence of State Representative Al Ronan.[93]  Ronan gained notoriety for handing out campaign contributions on the floor of the Illinois General Assembly. Ronan played a key role in the election of State Representative Sara Feigenholtz in her defeat of then State Representative Ellis Levin (D-IL) in `the Democratic Party March 15th, (Ides of March), 1994 Primary Election.] (02/12/09) web log blogger David Ormsby in his "Your Two Cents" applauds the fund-raising of two of the Democratic Party candidates in the Fifth Congressional District Special Primary Election scheduled for March 3rd, 2009.

     "One would never know that the U.S. is flirting with another Great Depression based on the cash being hauled in by the candidates in Illinois’ 5th congressional district special election.

John Fritchey’s campaign disclosed today that it has raised between $400,000 and $450,000 since January 1. Campaign Manager Josh Levin says they are still trundling in the sacks and tallying the final amount of their pile.  In an email, Levin writes, “Safe to say that this is a very competitive money race.” Yep, safe.  Fritchey’s top opponent, State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, today revealed that she has raised more than $550,000 since she launched her campaign in November. Since it is unlikely Mike Quigley or Patrick O’Connor will report a greater haul, Feigenholtz will likely be the leader in the money chase.  Fritchey and Feigenholtz’s campaigns alone will likely represent the leading edge of any Illinois economic stimulus.[94] (02/11/09) web log blogger & reporter John McCormick distinguished first timer Fifth Congressional District candidates from those four other elected officials seeking to replace resigned Congressman Rahm Israel Emanuel who accepted appointment as President Barack Obama's new Chief of Staff.     

     "Five Democratic newcomers in the race to succeed Rahm Emanuel in the 5th Congressional District today defended their viability to compete in contest heavy with elected officials.

     "It is not an advantage to be an elected official," argued Jan Donatelli, an airline pilot and Democratic candidate who met with the Chicago Tribune editorial board.

     "The electorate is crying for change," said Dr. Paul Bryar, an eye surgeon and medical professor at Northwestern University.

     Bryar noted high taxes in Cook County and deep state pension shortfalls in Illinois, subtle references to his fellow Democratic candidates who are local and state elected officials. "That's not the sort of reform we need to Washington right now," he said.

     The session, the first of several gatherings organized by the newspaper's editorial page for endorsement interviews, had Bryar and the two other doctors in the race seated next to each other inside Tribune Tower.

     Dr. Victor Forys said he has a "clear path to victory" and will have enough money to get his message out through mailings, television and radio. He noted his Polish ancestry as being an advantage in the immigrant-heavy district.

     Dr. Carlos Monteagudo, a Cuban immigrant, said his ties to the Latino community would pay dividends in the March 3 special primary. He predicted that the better known candidates would divide the vote and he could win by securing an "alternative vote."

     Businessman Cary Capparelli said he planned to win the primary by offering a more conservative voice in a district that he believes is more moderate than its past representation would suggest.

     The candidates, five of the 13 running in the Democratic primary, also sounded off on a variety of issues during the 75-minute joint interview. They differed on a so-called "Buy American" provision in the economic stimulus bill moving through Congress.

     Bryar and Monteagudo said they oppose the provision as it is written, while Forys, Capparelli and Donatelli said they support such a measure, at least until the American economy recovers.

     "This is an exceptional case," Forys said. "We need to do everything we can to stimulate the American economy."

The campaign of Chicago labor lawyer Tom Geoghegan, meanwhile, said today that he has received the endorsement of Teamsters Local 743, which represents area health care, technical, office and warehouse workers.

     "They represent many hard working people in the district and Chicago," Geoghegan said in a statement. "Currently they are fighting to save jobs at the University of Chicago and I support this effort. Now is not the time to be laying off more people."

Charles Wheelan, a University of Chicago public policy lecturer, continued his use of unconventional ads as a way to try to gain attention in the crowded field by releasing one that shows him talking upside down to highlight economic problems. The new ad will air on cable TV only and it's unclear how much money Wheelan is putting behind it.

Some of the better known names in the race include state Rep. John Fritchey (D-Chicago), state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago), Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley and Ald. Patrick O'Connor (40th).[95] (02/10/09) reports that  the next Fifth Congressional District candidate forum will be sponsored by Access Living on Monday, February 16th in Chicago's River North area, just south of the District.

     "The organization Access Living, which advocates on disability-related issues in Illinois, will be holding a 5th Congressional District candidate forum on Monday, February 16, so mark your calendars.  They tell us the event will cover a broad range of topics that affect the disabled community, including health care, housing, education, public transit, and the stimulus package.  They also plan to solicit questions from audience members.  The organizers have received commitments from numerous candidates and plan to release the full line-up next week.[96]


Medill Reports Chicago (02/10/09) Alex Keefe reports that Fifth District Congressional candidate Carlos Moteagudo prevailed in the defense of his political nominating petitions.

     "The last candidate fighting a petition challenge in the race to fill Rahm Emanuel’s congressional seat prevailed on Monday, thanks to the Cook County elections board.

     The board ruled that Democrat Carlos Monteagudo, a 47-year-old psychiatrist, has enough valid nominating petition signatures to remain on the March 3 primary ballot. Monteagudo’s signatures had been challenged by Thomas L. Root Jr., of Chicago. Root could not be reached for comment.[97] (02/09/09) Cook County Commissioner Tony Peraica endorsed Republican Party Fifth District Congressional candidate Greg Bedell in his bid to capture the March 3rd, 2009 Special Primary Election nomination.

     "Greg Bedell, Republican candidate for Congress in the Illinois 5th District Special Election, today received the endorsement of Tony Peraica, Cook County Commissioner, 16th District.

     In announcing his endorsement of Mr. Bedell, Mr. Peraica said, “Greg Bedell is one of the new, energetic Republicans who can make a difference by leading with traditional principles. He’ll fight for all the citizens of the 5th District, without ties to the political machine or special interest groups.”

     Mr. Bedell, 49, said he is running for Congress to support a return to Republican fundamentals. His campaign is focused on developing creative solutions to the current challenges citizens face – solutions grounded in traditional Republican beliefs of fiscal responsibility and strong national security. “The country needs to find direction in the Republican basics of low taxes, responsible spending and reasonable regulation.  My experience and my character have prepared me to take on this fight, and now is the time to do it,” said Mr. Bedell, Republican candidate for the 5th Congressional District of Illinois.[98] (02/09/09) web log blogger Carl Nyberg compared Democratic Party candidate positions on national health care & immigration in their Fifth Congressional District replies to a published Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization candidate survey.

     "Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organizations (IVI-IPO) has queried the candidates running for U.S. House of Representatives in IL-05. (The Proviso portion of the district is Northlake and most of Melrose Park.) The questionnaire is long, over 140 questions on issues. That's not including questions candidates have to answer about their campaigns and personal lives.

     I have pulled out some of the responses that I consider either more important or will be more interesting to the Proviso Probe audience.

     I picked the issue of single-payer health care because the U.S. health care system has serious problems. It's too expensive. The HMOs and insurance companies preferred business model is to make it hard for their clients to get coverage or to make it difficult to get the insurers to pay the bills.

     The out-of-control health care costs are a burden for state and local government as well as businesses and organized labor.

     Single-payer health care is a subset of universal health care. Universal health care sound good, but it doesn't fix all the unpleasant (and unnecessary) hassles of dealing with HMOs and insurance companies in a for-profit system.[99] (02/07/09) web log takes exception to endorsements of only one of the three women running for nomination as Republican & Green Party candidates in the Fifth Congressional District Special Primary Election March 3, 2009. In particular, the author notes that GOP candidate Rosanna Pulido offers many of the same traits mentioned in the Emily's List endorsement of State Representative Sara Feigenholtz.

     "As you might imagine we have a couple of ‘vanity’ RSS feeds set up to alert us whenever the media mentions us or this race. So imagine my delight when Ellen Malcolm of EMILY’s list opined

 It’s Time to Put More Women in Office

     And even more so when she played right into our strengths…

     Having women in office is vital to the health of our democracy because women play a unique role in our society. By and large, women are still the primary caregivers in families, even as we have taken our place in the workforce. This is what we mean when we talk about the pressure women face balancing work and family: Mothers are typically the first line of defense when a child gets sick; adult daughters are by and large looked to when an aging parent needs care. All the while, families depend on women’s paychecks to meet the rising cost of health care, education, gas — life.

     Seeing as Rosanna has met every one of those criteria one would think Rosanna would be a perfect fit, but sadly Ellen isn’t interested in anything other than being a narrow partisan hack.

While CQ Politics writes

     Indeed, one of the unknowns in this contest (The Illinois Fifth Congressional special race) is the degree to which the impeachment and ejection from office of Blagojevich will spur voters to choose a candidate who is not associated with machine politics.

Which again, Rosanna fits to a Tee though she is not mentioned in the piece.

In fact, we found it interesting that CQ Politics appears to believe that there is only one party in this race as they only ever mention Democrats.

Ahem, we realize we are not highly trained “journalists,” but guys? There are in fact three parties represented here, you knew that, right?[100] (02/10/09) web log blogger Josh Kalven gets to the heart of the one question facing one of the three incumbant legislators vying for the Fifth District Congressional seat vacated by Congressman Rahm Israel Emanuel. Cook County Board Commissioner Michael Quigley defends his candidacy after fighting for reform for the past decade.

     "Over the weekend, Mike Quigley rolled out a new website -- -- that includes a video and petition in support of the Murray-Feinstein amendment, which would add $5 billion in mass transit funding to the Senate's stimulus package.  Prairie State Blue blogger Bored Now also posted a video of Quigley pushing back against the widely-held sentiment that he shouldn't be elected to Congress because it's important to keep him on the Cook County Board of Commissioners:

Meanwhile, John Fritchey is holding a conference call with local bloggers tonight -- the "first in a series" according to a press release from the campaign.  Our story last Friday about Fritchey's lobbying before the City of Chicago Zoning Board has generated some controversy (and plenty of email).  Today, PSB's Bored Now takes us to task for failing to call Fritchey before posting the piece (a valid criticism) and posts a response from the candidate.[101] (02/10/09) web log blogger Josh Kalven notes that Fifth District Congressional candidate Tom Geoghegan expects another endorsement "Finally, Tom Geoghegan will receive the endorsement of the CNA/National Nurses Organizing Committee today, which represents approximately 1,500 Cook County nurses and supports the following agenda: "single-payer healthcare, better nurse to patient ratios, and strengthening patients' rights of appeal of health insurance denials." Geoghegan also appeared on the Interview Show with Mark Bazer last Friday evening.[102]


Chicago Sun Times (02/09/09) columnist & web log blogger Lynn Sweet reported that State Representative Sara Feigenholtz has received the endorsement of the Service Employees International Union in her bid to capture the Democratic Party nomination for Fifth District Congress: "State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz to receive endorsement of Illinois Council of the Service Employees International Union on Tuesday, Feb. 10th. Feigenholtz (D-12th Illinois House District) has a proven record of strong advocacy for making healthcare available to uninsured women, children and families. She is one of 12 Democratic candidates seeking to replace Rahm Emanuel, who vacated this seat in the U.S. House of Representatives to become White House Chief of Staff.[103]


[One Chicago SEIU leader was wire-tapped by FBI agents as part of the investigation of former Governor Rod Blagojevich's US Senate appointment negotiations. Congresswoman Jan Shakowsky's former campaign manager is one of the political leaders of SEIU.]


Chicago Sun Times (02/09/09) columnist & web log blogger Lynn Sweet reported that one of the Fifth District Congressional candidates Michael Quigley has launched a new Internet promotion for getting more Federal funding for Chicago's century old mass transit system:      "Congressional candidate- the "greenest elected official" in Chicago- launches new website,

In video message posted on the Internet, Quigley invites transit supporters nationwide to sign on-line petition to House-Senate conferees calling for more support for public transportation in final version of Economic Stimulus Package.[104]

(02/09/09) web log blog questions one Fifth Congressional District candidate's distinction between calling for interest rate caps on so-called "Payday Loans" & acknowledging that that this consumer lender should be allowed to continue doing business. While calling attention to State Representative John Fritchey's AFL-CIO labor endorsement in his Fifth District Congressional bid,      "John Fritchey, candidate in the Illinois 5th Congressional District race, got an endorsement from the AFL-CIO today. The organization cited his voting record regarding payday loan reform and other financial legislation among its reasons for endorsing him.      Fritchey in the past has voted for certain limitations on payday loans. However, he represented Cash America when it applied for special use permit in order to open a pawn shop. Cash America also owns a payday lending operation in addition to operating pawn shops.      Progress Illinois asks the following question:

If Fritchey is an opponent of predatory lending, why is he assisting this company’s expansion?

To me, the answer seems pretty clear. Fritchey is well versed in payday lending law and payday loan reform, but he doesn’t consider payday loans a form of predatory lending.      Is there a contradiction here? So why would Fritchey vote to place limits on payday loans if he doesn’t think they are predatory lenders? People seem to forget sometimes that everything in life isn’t always black and white. Just because he believes there should be certain forms of regulation doesn’t mean that he thinks the organizations are inherently bad.[105] (02/09/09) Local access political talk show host Jeff Berkowitz explored one alternative approach to public education favored by University of Chicago public polity lecturer & Fifth Congressional District candidate Charles Wheelan: 

Improving education for kids of low income parents, long term and short-term

     Jeff Berkowitz: Okay, that's one thing, but you don't want to discard these kids and say we can't help the kids who are in high school if they are getting a crummy education now, right? Or, if they are in junior high.

     Charles Wheelan: Absolutely not.

     Jeff Berkowitz: So what would you do, coming out of [the University of] Chicago, what would you advise, what's the word I'm looking for?

     Charles Wheelan [5th CD Dem. Primary candidate]: You're looking for school choice.

     Jeff Berkowitz: You're opposed to school choice, coming out of Chicago?

     Charles Wheelan: Oh, definitely not.

     Jeff Berkowitz: You're in favor of school choice?

     Charles Wheelan: Yes I am.

     Jeff Berkowitz: You'd like to see school vouchers?

Charles Wheelan: I would, with some important qualifications, actually. I think this is what separates me a bit from some of the folks at [the University of Chicago]. I'm in this to actually change schools, so I think the law of unintended consequences applies to conservative ideas as well. So let me back up and say I wrote an op-ed in 1999 for the New York Times saying that Democrats ought to favor choice.

     Jeff Berkowitz: School choice?

     Charles Wheelan: School choice.

     Defining School Choice

     Jeff Berkowitz: Very quickly, what do you mean by school choice?

     Charles Wheelan [5th CD Dem. Primary candidate]: Basically, allowing—and design matters—but, basically allowing kids to take money to schools of their choice.

     Jeff Berkowitz: Take the money that they're getting now—[in the form of a subsidy-in-kind], in the Chicago Public Schools, people don’t realize that, per kid, per year, we spend sixteen thousand dollars…do the math.

     Charles Wheelan: That sounds very high.

     $16,000 per kid per year spent on education in the Chicago Public Schools

     Jeff Berkowitz: Six billion dollar budget, and its fewer than four hundred thousand students. Divide four hundred thousand into six billion, and you get fifteen thousand. I'm estimating because I've heard three hundred seventy thousand student students. They kind of inflate the numbers. Let's call it fifteen thousand. I know they don't say that, but trust me, it's there. The point is that whether it's fifteen thousand or twelve thousand, your point is, people in the Chicago Public Schools should be able to take what's called their education [subsidy] in kind--right now they get the education, but give them the money—and let them stay in the public school if they want, if not-- go to the private schools.

     Charles Wheelan: Right.

     Wheelan signs up for School Vouchers, School Choice

     Jeff Berkowitz: You would sign on to that?

     Charles Wheelan: I would sign on to that, subject to some parameters. I don't want schools being able to systematically exclude kids who are the most difficult to educate. Right? So, we know--

     Jeff Berkowitz: So we have to handle that.

     Charles Wheelan: We have to handle that.

     Jeff Berkowitz: Then you're okay with it?

     Charles Wheelan: By and large.

     Don’t give up on the kids.

     Jeff Berkowitz: Competition occurs, people think of better ways to teach reading, writing, math, so kids with very difficult, intractable problems--they don't come from ideal homes--we don't just give up on them. This is what Teach for America does, and Knowledge is Power, and all those other things that are not necessarially choice programs do. But they don't give up on the kids, right?

     Charles Wheelan: Right and my kids have benefited from—

     Jeff Berkowitz: And, you don’t want to give up on the kids, right?[106]


Chicago Sun Times (02/09/09) columnist Laura S. Washington continued to promote the candidacy of State Representative Sara Feigenholtz in the Democratic March 3rd Special Election Primary campaign, noting the reception of members of the Gay-Lesbian-Bi-Sexual & Transgender audience in attendance @ the Equality Illinois gala Saturday evening. 

     "The applause-o-meter wildly careened as the tuxedoed politicians strutted across the stage Saturday night at the annual Equality Illinois gala. Dawn Clark Netsch, the grand dame of progressives, floated by in a billowy green and red gown, reprising Christmas. The meter went through the roof.

     The main attraction was the parade of politicians, who each stepped briefly into the spotlight and wooed the 1,100 or so supporters of the gay, lesbian bisexual and transgender rights group. It's a must-do for any politician who cares about Chicago's GLBT vote.    

     According to my (Sun Times columnist Laura S. Washington) highly scientific reading, three ladies registered the highest decibels on the applause-o-meter: Netsch, Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, and state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz.

     Feigenholtz, who is running in the 5th Congressional District to replace Rahm Emanuel, was one of at least six candidates who showed up to kiss the GLBT ring. Most of the city's GLBT voters live in the district, making them a coveted constituency in the competitive March 3 Democratic primary.

     They worked the cocktail hour with political sturm und drang. Feigenholtz sported a well-known cadre of supporters, including endorsements from Equality Illinois Political Director Rick Garcia and Art Johnston, a popular co-founder of the gay rights group. Feigenholtz is going head-to-head for the GLBT vote with Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley.

     One key endorsement is off the table. Ald. Tom "Sticky Buns" Tunney (44th) is taking a pass. Chicago's first and only openly gay alderman and Ann Sather's proprietor is a longtime friend and ally of both, so he is not endorsing, though he will do fund-raising for both.

     North Side and openly gay state Rep. Greg Harris is backing a strange bedfellow: 40th Ward Ald. Patrick O'Connor, Mayor Daley's unofficial City Council floor leader and longtime Northwest Side pol. O'Connor launched his Council career in the 1980s as a member of the infamous "Vrdolyak 29," the white ethnic bloc that stymied the city's first black mayor at every turn.

     Harris argues that O'Connor should be rewarded for deploying his clout with other white ethnic aldermen to help pass the city's human rights ordinance in 1988. "He made a lot of this possible," Harris told me at the dinner table Saturday night. "It is important to remember who was with us then." (It probably doesn't hurt that O'Connor helped put Harris in his House seat.)[107]


The Chicago Sun Times (02/08/09) reports on one of the three Sixth State Sentate District candidates vying to replace Congressman Rahm Emanuel in Illinois' Fifth District on Chicago's North Side. Reporter Abdon S. Pallasch provides perspective on Cook County Commissioner Michael Quigley's quest: "Unusual among elected officials in Cook County, Quigley has spoken out against some of the sacred cows of Mayor Daley and County Board Presidents John and Todd Stroger, including "blighted" special-tax districts for a booming downtown that divert tax money from schools and the common practice of finding jobs for Democratic officials with the Cook County Forest Preserve District.

     Quigley has spoken out about things that commissioners before him rarely spoke out about. Other independents, including Forrest Claypool, were elected to join Quigley on the Cook County Board, and together they cobbled together an unprecedented majority of votes to block John Stroger's proposed tax increases and force other changes.

For years, Quigley was the strongest voice on the Cook County Board for gay rights, abortion rights, environmentalism and protecting the forest preserves.

     "Mike has displayed the courage and independence that few politicians are capable of," Claypool said. "He had the guts to take on the Machine and business as usual 10 years ago when he got to the County Board -- that's the kind of leadership voters should want in their elected representative in Washington."

     But Quigley lost some of his credibility as an independent when he endorsed Todd Stroger over his former Cook County Board ally, Republican Tony Peraica.

     The bottom line, Quigley said, was that Stroger's a Democrat. Quigley provided the crucial vote to help pass Stroger's first budget.

     Quigley said that budget, which did not raise taxes, was better than the alternative.

     Quigley's rivals are already trying to paint him as a Stroger ally, though he has since split with him.[108] (02/06/09) web log blogger David Ormsby explores Democratic Party Fifth Congressional District candidate Tom Geoghegan's grasp of contract law & financial management by reporting on attorney Geoghegan's plan to halt foreclosures:

     "Illinois 5th CD congressional candidate Tom Geoghegan yesterday called for a moratorium on housing foreclosures in Illinois and nationwide and offered a 35-word plan to achieve the goal.

Attorney Tom Geoghegan

     “We’ve given the banks $700 billion in bailout money and all they do is keep kicking people out of their houses. We need a moratorium today on all home foreclosures. This is the essential first step in getting our economy moving,” said Geoghegan.

     First, on the facts, Geoghegan, a labor attorney, is wrong on the amount of bailout money spent by the U.S. Treasury so far. The Feds have allocated only $250 billion of the first tranche of TARP money to banks, while insurance giant AIG, Detroit’s Big Three, etc have received the remainder.

     The Feds have yet even to release with second $350 billion TARP tranche.

Second, on his plan to halt foreclosures nationwide, Geoghegan devoted a grand total of 35-words to laying out the strategy to secure that objective:

That’s it.

     Third, the Geoghegan campaign has no estimate how much this plan would cost in dollars and cents. No idea.

Your Two Cents Less posed this question three times to two different Geoghegan campaign staffers. They had no estimate.

In one answer, campaign spokesman Chris Lackner wrote:

     “There would be no further taxpayer cost for this.  It’s much better to renegotiate the loans and get some money from homeowners than to let them fall into foreclosure. The banks will have to take some losses, but they will be less than if they foreclose.”

Oh, good it’s free.

     But–the banks will have to take some losses? Those walking Zombies like CitiGroup or Bank of America need to take more losses? How much is some?

     A second Geoghegan spokesman insisted that banks simply rewrite all troubled mortages, take their losses, and those that are still solvent after that process should be recapitalized by TARP cash–which is taxpayer money, no? How much TARP money? $50 billion? $350 billion? No idea.

     Finally, Geoghegan is widely acknowledged as a smart guy. But his well-meaning, but populist push to save home owners is hardly even half-baked, and unworthy of a smart guy–and clearly unworthy of a congressional candidate.[109]


Chicago Tribune (02/06/09) columnist Eric Zorn predicts that the immigration "wedge issue" will stir up the talk show circuit if Republican Party Fifth District Congressional candidate Rosanna Pulido claims her party's nomination in the March 3rd, 2009 Primary Election. Rosanna Pulido, founder of the Illinois Minuteman Project  and a vocal opponent of illegal immigration, has survived a petition challenge and will be on the  Republican ballot in the  5th Congressional District primary  March 3. Pulido is a frequent and often feisty guest on the local talk radio circuit and should prove to be an interesting candidate. The petition challenge was the work of Joshua Hoyt, executive director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.  Pulido's campaign said Hoyt went so far as to question the validity of the signature of Pulido's father. Hoyt said he didn't remember that, specifically, but that he challenged hundreds of signatures on Pulido's petitions and found many of them invalid. An ICIRR account of the petition fight is here. He directed me to this YouTube of a Pulido speech.[110] (02/06/09) web log blog "IL-05 Primary Roundup # 2" notes that Fifth District Congressional campaigns are kicking in to high gear as candidates juggle community/political group candidate forum invitations while stoking their political field operations: "Three major events capped this week in Illinois' 5th Congressional District: the nominating petition process was completed, voting has begun and a whole beavy of Candidate Forums was begun. On the Democratic side, objections to Charlie Wheelan's petitions were overruled, objections to Roger Thompson's petitions were sustained (removing Thompson from the ballot) and Pete Dagher withdrew in the face of challenges to his petitions. Thus, the field on the Democratic side was narrowed, from 14 to 12. I don't expect much more narrowing in the field before the primary, as voting has actually begun in this race.[111] (02/06/09) web log blogger Josh Kalven noted yet another endorsement for State of Illinois Representative John Fritchey in his bid to replace Congressman Rahm Emanuel in the Fifth District: "Today, the Illinois AFL-CIO endorsed John Fritchey in the 5th Congressional District race.  Their adjoining press release included this explanation:

     Rep. Fritchey has a 97 percent lifetime voting record with the Illinois AFL-CIO, supporting important legislation like the minimum wage increases, the Equal Pay Act, employee misclassification regulations, Prevailing Wage Act enforcement, mine safety measures, health care expansion, Workers’ Compensation improvements, corporate accountability, whistleblower protections, day laborer protections, pay day loan reform, the freedom to picket during work disputes and card check recognition for public employees. 

     The organization Access Living, which advocates on disability-related issues in Illinois, will be holding a 5th Congressional District candidate forum on Monday, February 16, so mark your calendars.  They tell us the event will cover a broad range of topics that affect the disabled community, including health care, housing, education, public transit, and the stimulus package.  They also plan to solicit questions from audience members.  The organizers have received commitments from numerous candidates and plan to release the full line-up next week.



43rd Ward Regular Democratic Organization Committeeperson Michelle Smith (02/06/09) shares the busy Saturday, February 7th, 2009 Fifth Congressional District candidate forum schedule: 

Learn more about the candidates by checking out their web sites.   Maybe you can volunteer!  There are three more Forums this week:  

Saturday, February 7 at 3:00 pm, Berry United Methodist Church, 4754 North Leavitt Street, Moderated by James M. Wall

Saturday, February 7  at 8:00 pm, Islamic Community Center of Illinois, 6435 W. Belmont Ave., Moderated by James M. Wall 

Sunday, February 8 at 1:00 pm, Muslim Community Center, MCC, 4380 N. Elston Ave., Moderated by Christine Cegelis 

This is a very important election.  Please take the opportunity to learn where the candidates stand on the issues. (02/06/09) reporter Dan Mihalopoulos describes the mix bag of union labor endorsements in the Fifth Congressional District Special Primary Election "The loyalties of the state's major labor unions are divided in the March 3 special primary to replace Rahm Emanuel in Congress, much like local Democratic Party leaders who declined to unite behind a candidate. State Rep. John Fritchey (D-Chicago) won the endorsement today of the Illinois AFL-CIO, which includes 1,500 unions with almost 1 million members. But sources said State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) will have the support of the Service Employees International Union, a major backer of President Barack Obama and former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. SEIU leadership were implicated in impeached Governor Rod Blagojevich's wire-tapped conversations concerning the alleged pay-to-play sale of the United States Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama.[113]


NWACO (02/06/09) The original field of 26 candidates in the Fifth District Congressional Special Primary Election scheduled for March 3rd, 2009 has reportedly narrowed to 22 candidates; however the State Board of Elections has yet to post the recent three reported withdrawls: Green Party Alan Auguston of Chicago & Democratic Party Primary candidates--Pete Dagher of Franklin Park & Roger Thompson of Chicago. The Internet embedded link included within this NWACO report will introduce visitors to that State Board of Election Internet web site to confirm these three withdrawals prior to ballot certification.[114]


The Chicago Reader (02/05/09) "Clout City" web log blog explores the municipal finance lesson Mayor Richard M. Daley wants to teach the two Representatives in the Illinois General Assembly who want to replace his pet Congressman Rahm Emanuel.

     "On Sunday (February 1st, 2009), the (eleven) candidates in the Democratic primary to fill Rahm Emanuel's vacant Fifth Congressional District seat came out against Daley's privatization of Midway Airport. They should--like most of Daley's other big-ticket schemes, it will probably cost us more money over the years than it will bring in. And there's another potential problem, which was raised by Jan Donatelli, who happens to be a pilot: safety precautions sometimes get brushed aside when a company's worried about its bottom line.

     On Wednesday Daley threw a mayoral-sized temper tantrum, telling reporters that he had to sell Midway because city employees "are clock watchers who don't think about the customers," as Fran Spielman of the Sun-Times quoted him. "They're not customer-related. They’re gonna leave at 5 o’clock. They're gonna leave at 4:30 or 4. I'm sorry. We're on a time clock. They walk out. But in the private sector, when you have a customer you're gonna stay there making sure they're happy and satisfied.... We can't compete with the private sector. The private sector has a complete idea of who your customers are. Government doesn't have customers. They only have citizens."

[115] (02/05/09) web log blogger John Bachtell projects that a "progressive" candidate appears likely to represent the Fifth Congressional District from the now twenty-two candidates on the March 3, 2009 ballot. Read Mr. Bachtell's complete blog for his coverage of the Super Bowl Sunday (February 1, 2009) Democratic Party De Paul University forum. Among the lesser known candiates is one of the two women in the race--retired Delta Airlines pilot Jan Donatelli who receives special mention.

     "Perhaps the most intriguing Democratic candidate is Jan Donatelli, a Navy veteran, Delta Airline pilot, union activist and mother of six. Donatelli describes herself as an “activist at heart.” She became interested in running for public office while volunteering in the Obama campaign. She enjoys the support of Veterans and Military Families for Progress, Delta Master Exec Council, the Airline Pilots Association and the Association of Flight Attendants. [116]

“I think the electorate is progressive and politicians need to catch up to the people,” Donatelli told the forum. She denounced the Midway Airport privatization, saying people’s safety should come first over profits. She called for more funding for border security, but also for a path to citizenship for the 12 million undocumented workers in the U.S.

While all the candidates acknowledged Israel’s security needs and right to exist, and supported a two-state solution for the crisis, Donatelli was the only candidate to forthrightly express a desire for a “comprehensive peace” in the Middle East and a “free and independent Palestine” alongside Israel. (02/05/09) web log blogger & Springfield correspondant Rich Miller concluded that both of the State of Illinois Representatives in the General Assembly running for the Fifth District Congressional seat being vacated by President Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel proteth too much in their new found opposition to the privatization of Midway International Airport on Chicago's Southwest side. Miller noted that both Representative Sara Feigenholtz & John Fritchy have towed the Speaker Michael Madigan party line in voting to allow private investors to avoiding paying real estate taxes on their purchase, thereby enabling privatization.

     "Yesterday, Mayor Daley shot back [Daley] noted that Fritchey voted for the 2006 bill that set the stage for the Midway and parking garage deals by granting blanket property tax exemptions to private investors who lease those city assets.

And Daley advised Fritchey and his rivals to “go back to business school” to learn the benefits of turning city assets into a cash windfall to keep building while other cities are cutting back.

     Feigenholtz also voted for that bill.

     Since Daley singled out Fritchey, the Tribune went to him for comment…“I am in no way hedging on my comments,” Fritchey said after being told of Mayor Richard Daley’s reaction. “I still think that privatization of assets is not a desirable long-term policy … We’ve gone decades without having to privatize city assets.”

     But Fritchey said he agreed with Daley’s comments that the state has forced the city to seek other solutions by failing to fund infrastructure projects.

     “There’s no question that the state is lacking in its obligations,” Fritchey said.

     Asked to explain his vote for legislation that made the Midway deal possible, Fritchey responded, “I voted to give Chicago officials the authority to do that. As a general rule, I support the concept of local control.”


[Both Fritchey and Feigenholtz also voted for a bill to sell the Thompson Center. [117]] (02/05/09) "Your Two Cents-Illinois Politics & Issues at a Glance" introduces colorful language to attract visitors to the abbreviated reprint of a Feigenholtz for Congress campaign press release: "Feigenholtz sent a letter to Durbin and Burris urging them to fight to keep this dough in the final package, a package which is under GOP siege and dropping in the polls. According to Feigenholtz, the federal stimulus will provide $2.7 billion to the state, including $1.8 billion for transportation and infrastructure. allocating nearly $860 million for Illinois school and college modernization, and investing $163 million for job training. However, Senate Republicans have sought to castrate the bill, aiming to eliminate numerous spending projects. Ormsby has yet to query Feigenholtz about her stance on Congressional committee negotiations to respond to GOP concerns about the escalated cost of the so-called economic stimulus spending package.[118] (02/05/09) Green Party Fifth Congressional Candidate Alan Auguston who opposed former Congressman Rahm Emanuel has chosen to discontinue his campaign according to the candidate's Internet web site posting: "Green Candidate Alan Augustson today announced that he is "standing down" from his bid to replace Rahm Emanuel (D-05) in the House of Representatives, after his wife was hospitalized Wednesday evening."

     "The Special Election process is very brief, and a campaign has to be extremely intense in order to be effective, and I cannot commit to that level of intensity right this instant. Her illness, and the ongoing effects of my own, make me less than the best campaigner I can be, and the Green Party needs fighters who have both hands free to swing. Campaign money, and media attention for the Greens are so scarce, that they need to be concentrated on the most viable candidates."

     Auguston's withdrawl has yet to be confirmed by the State of Illinois Board of Elections.

     Four Green Party candidates remain in the March 3rd Fifth Congressional District Special Election. Of those candidates, Mark Arnold Fredrickson is the only other candidate besides Auguston whose name has been on a previous Fifth Congressional District ballot. Fredrickson captured more than 12,500 votes in the 2004 Primary Election.

     Also running for that nomination is Matt Reichel of Evanston, Deb Gordilis of Chicago & Simon Ribeiro also of Chicago.[119]


Chicago Tribune (02/05/09) columnis Bruce Japson--"Inside Health Care"--describes the candidacy of three physicians seeking the Fifth Congressional District Special Primary Election March 3rd. "Congress convened last month with 16 medical doctors, including three newly elected members of the House of Representatives as well as a freshman senator, according to the latest tally by the Chicago-based American Medical Association. Locally, Northwestern University eye surgeon Paul Bryar and Chicago primary-care physician and health clinic operator Victor Forys are attempting to join the parade of doctors winning congressional seats. They are Democratic candidates in the crowded March 3 primary to replaceRahm Emanuel, who was named PresidentBarack Obama's chief of staff. Bryar, for example, has pointed to his volunteerism in helping uninsured patients in Chicago's Cabrini Green neighborhood and advocated for additional funding for children's medical care. And Forys is touting his many years of service on the Northwest Side, where, he said, he has maintained service to government-insured patients at a time many doctors have turned them away.[120]


Chicago Journal-Medill Reports Chicago (02/05/09) Alex Keefe reports that Fifth District Congressional Candidate Roger A. Thompson announced today that he plans to continue his campaign as a write-in candidate; however, he plans to withdraw from the March 3rd ballot after two supporters of fellow Democratic candidate Dr. Paul Bryar challenged Thompson's political nominating petitions.

     "A county election board found that Democrat Roger Thompson III has only 494 valid petition signatures—far short of the 927 he needed to run in the March 3 primary.

     “It’s not easy for anybody to break into politics,” said Thompson, who struggled through the petition objection process without the help of a lawyer. “You have to have the insider knowledge, and I don’t have any insider knowledge. That’s why I think I’m a better candidate than most.”

     Thompson, a 40-year-old real estate agent, didn’t go without a fight.

He even requested that the chairman of the Cook County Officer’s Electoral Board, which rules on petition challenges, go through the 24-minute process of counting all of Thompson’s objections to challenges lodged against his petitions line by line, until it was proved that he didn’t have enough valid signatures to stay on the ballot."

     Dr. Bryar contributed to the 32nd Ward Regular Democratic Organization in 2007, one year before fellow Democratic Congressional candidate & 32nd Ward RDO committeeman John Fritchey became that Ward's RDO Committeeman.

     Thompson said that he was not able to field campaign volunteers to assist in the defense of his petition after being given only a single day to prepare. Thompson was not represented by legal counsel, so he was forced to respond to three Chicago Board of Election voter record examination teams without any assistance.

     Thompson's announced campaign withdrawl reduces the number of Democratic candidates from fourteen to thirteen candidates.

     The State Board of Elections has yet to confirm Mr. Thompson's withdrawl as of Thursday, February 5, 2009.[121]


WGN-TV (02/05/09) reports that Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley is miffed about two State of Illinois legislators criticizing the multi-billion dollar sale of Chicago's Midway International Airport to private investors, "Mayor Richard Daley said today many of the Democratic candidates vying to represent Chicago's North Side in Congress have a lot to learn if they think the city shouldn't turn Midway Airport over to a private operator, according to the Tribune's Clout Street blog.

     The mayor has officially stayed neutral in the March 3 special election campaign for the 5th Illinois Congressional District seat vacated by Rahm Emanuel, President Barack Obama's new White House chief of staff who once worked for Daley's campaign organization.

But Daley bristled when asked about criticism of the $2.5 billion Midway deal from state Rep. John Fritchey (D-Chicago) and several other Democratic congressional hopefuls.

     Daley said the 99-year Midway lease and other privatization deals involving city assets has helped City Hall weather the bad economy better than the state and federal governments.

     One of the Green Party Fifth Congressional 5th District candidates agreed with Mayor Daley that the criticism is short-sighted without proposing a broader solution to City of Chicago & State of Illinois budget shortcomings. "My Democratic opponents enjoy the legislative luxury of being able to smugly craft clever, analogous criticism of the Midway sale without being able to courageously solve the State of Illinois $9Billion budget deficit," Fredrickson charged.

     State Representative John Fritchey (D-11) had likened the Chicago City Council's Midway International Airport sale to "selling the furniture to pay the mortgage."[122] (02/04/09) web log blogger David Ormsby notes that one popular Internet web log--Capital Fax--has attracted multiple blog volleys from the two warring camps--State Representatives Sara Feigenholtz & Represenative John Fritchey:

     "For nearly nearly nines hours on Tuesday–from the first rhetorical grape shot at 12:52 p.m. until the last verbal volley at 8:43 p.m., the dueling partisans backing Illinois 5th congressional candidates John Fritchey and Sara Feigenholtz fired spit-balls at each other through blog posts on Illinois’ most prominent


Rich Miller’s The Capitol Fax Blog.

     Welcome to the 21st Century version of a rumble. But this rumble was populated by brawlers hiding behind “Looney Tunes” character-like names who flailed away on a keyboard. Despite all the low-brow bric-a-brac thrown, unsurprisingly, no minds were pried open–or a single, authentic voter influenced. But the partisans held each other hostage to the back-and-forth for the day. “Bill”, “Phineas J. Whoopee”, “Ditto”, “Dropping Knowledge”, “Rosty the Snowman”, and others assaulted, tweaked, and torqued Fritchey and Feigenholtz’s campaigns with a gaping absence of wit. Other candidates, like Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley, were basically ignored in the blog fracas. The battle errupted over a minor notice of Fritchey’s recent union endorsements by the Teamsters, AFSCME, the Illinois Federation of teachers and the looming SEIU endorsement of Feigenholtz. Pow.[123]


Chicago Journal-Medill News Service (02/04/09)

Reporter Alex Keefe quotes a campaign spokesman for Fifth Congressional District Democratic Party candide Pete Dagher that a political nominating petition challenge has convinced Dagher to conclude his campaign against thirteen other political opponents in the March 3rd Special Primary Election race. "Pete Dagher, who ran unsuccessfully against Emanuel in 2002 and later served on President Obama's transition team, succumbed to a nominating petition challenge launched by volunteers from a rival campaign. Dagher is dropping out of the March 3 primary because he'll likely fall short of the 927 valid signatures he needs to remain on the ballot, according to Dagher's communications consultant, Matthew Donoghue."After wading through all of this piece by piece, it kind of became clear that he would be somewhat shy of the number required," Donoghue said. "And rather than go through an elongated process of challenging signature by signature by signature, he's decided to withdraw."[124]

     Dagner was but one of two candidates who originally opposed incumbent Congressman Rahm Emanuel in the 2002 Democratic Primary. The remaining 2002 Emanuel opponent--Mark Arnold Fredrickson--continues as one of five candidates for the Green Party's nomination. The hotly contested 2002 Democratic Primary was marked by the intervention of City of Chicago Department of Water Resources municipal employees dispatched to work on behalf of Mayor Richard M. Daley's endorsed candidate--Rahm Emanuel--at taxpayer expense in that election. Former Deputy Commissioner Donald Tomczak plead guilty to a Federal Grand Jury indictment stemming from the 2002 campaign & continues to serve his sentence at the US Penitentiary in Deluth, Minnesota.

     Neither Dagher nor Fredrickson have sought relief under provisions of the 1983 Shakman Consent Decree after Dagher ran third in the 2002 Democratic Primary Election campaign behind Emanuel's chief challenger--State Representative Nancy Kaszak.[125] (02/03/09) self-professed "World's Greatest Blog" may consider dispensing with the promotional puffery in favor of a fact check with respect to the following missive, "NOW IT DOES not surprise me to learn Feigenholtz has a campaign that is somehow ahead of all the others in the political mess (with respect to fund-raising) that has become a Democratic Party primary on March 3 for the Illinois 5th Congressional. Like many other Chicago-oriented elections, the general election on April 7 is a mere formality – whoever gets the GOP nomination has no chance of winning(unless your initials are M.F.--Michael Flannigan in 1994).

     She is one of roughly a half dozen candidates who have establishment political credentials. Most of the people in the running are fringe candidates with little government experience, or even much in the way of a local reputation.

     Their only hope is for the Democratic primary to become such a mess with no front-runner emerging that it could be possible for someone to win the Democratic nomination with maybe 8 percent of the vote – which is a long shot to occur.

     Feigenholtz also has the advantage of being the only woman (there's also reitired Delta Airlines pilot Jan Donatelli) in the running for the congressional seat (Ald. Dick Mell’s daughter wound up deciding to stay in Springfield in her recently-obtained Illinois House of Representatives’ seat, rather than try to move immediately to Washington).[126] (02/05/09) call a foul against Fifth Congressional District opponents who characterized State Representative John Fritchey's support for a $500 stipend "tax credit" for private & parochial Illinois students as being a "tax voucher."

     The Illinois political blogosphere is being peddled a claim that State Rep. John Fritchey, a candidate in the Illinois 5th CD special election, has voted for “school vouchers”–an unpardonable sin for State Rep. John Fritchey practicing teacher union members.

     The vote that purports to be pro-school voucher position was on House Bill 999 in 1999. The bill was a $500 tax credit for parents of kids enrolled in K-12  at any public or private school. The credit was for 25% of  expenses over $250. including tuition, book fees, and lab fees. Fritchey voted “yes” on the bill. The bill is a tax credit, not a voucher.

     In theory, a traditional voucher grants a parent a chunk of dough–usually $2,500 or more–to yank their kid from a public school and send him or her and the money to a private school, starving the public school of kids and cash and causing it to burn and crash. So goes the theory. HB 999 provided zero incentive to a parent to change schools. Zero.[127] (02/04/09) web log blogger Josh Kalven predicts that the February 7th, 2009 Action Illinois political endorsement session in the Fifth Congressional District Special Primary Election is sure to be hotly contested after organized labor split their support for the two State of Illinois Represenatives vying for the Democratic Party nomination March 3rd.

     "Thanks to the emerging divide among organized labor over the race, the Citizen Action/Illinois endorsement session this weekend is sure to be lively (their board includes numerous high-ranking officials from the unions in question).

     In other endorsement news, Capitol Fax recently published a mailer from Mike Quigley's campaign highlighting the endorsement he received from fellow Cook County Commissioner Forest Claypool.  Meanwhile, a CQ article out yesterday quotes the Feigenholtz campaign highlighting differences in Quigley and Claypool's respective voting records. In turn, the Quigley campaign is quoted tying her to Gov. Blagojevich.[128]

     (Service Employees International Union--SEIU--sponsors the Internet web site)


Chicago Sun Times (02/04/09) columnist & political consultant Don Rose gave his personal nod to Fifth Congressional District Democratic Primary Special Primary Election candidate & labor lawyer Tom Geoghegan; however as Rose explained of one of the publications which carries his column--The Chicago Observer--"we don't endorse." Rose mentioned Geoghegan's recent $3.5Million settlement on behalf of indigent patients of Advocate Health Care. "As a resident, my vote goes to labor lawyer Tom Geoghegan, author of several important books. His law partner is former Ald. Leon M. Despres, a father of progressive reform in Chicago, which speaks volumes in itself.

     Recently Geoghegan (pronounced gae-gun) won a huge class-action suit against Advocate Health Care that will, according to the Sun-Times, "result in free or reduced-price care for low-income patients at Advocate hospitals."

     That's typical of his successful fights for poor and working people -- translating the ideas of his books into tangible action. His record and economic ideas might just resonate in the working-class parts of the district.

     But then, he may be overqualified for Congress.[129]


Chicago Sun Times (02/04/09) columnist Neil Steinberg concluded his Gene & Georgetti luncheon with former Fifth Congressional District Congressman Daniel Rostenkowski to endorse Univeristy of Chicago Economics lecturer--Dr. Charles Wheelan PhD in his bid to replace Congressman Rahm Israel Emanuel: "What really impressed me about Wheelan is that he was Midwest correspondent for the Economist for five years. I'd bet most congressmen don't read the Economist, never mind write for it. What was that like?

     "It was awesome," said Wheelan. "Every bit as good as you would expect it would be. The editors were out-of-the-park intelligent. Brilliant."

     Must be nice. My enthusiasm dampened a bit -- why would he ever leave THAT job?

     "I left to do something else," Wheelan said, somewhat obliquely. "I've always stayed in touch with my editors."

That too takes guts. Anyway, vote for Wheelan. The primary is March 3.[130] (02/04/09) web log blogger & reporter Amy Wooten offered insight in to what makes a first time candidate run for the Fifth District Congressional seat vacated by President Barack Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Israel Emanuel.

     "For Jan Donatelli, a self-described “activist at heart,” the last few weeks spent collecting signatures in the cold and raising money for her run for Congress hasn’t been chaotic and stressful, but a “ton of fun.”

     Donatelli, a veteran, union member and commercial airline pilot, certainly enjoys a good old-fashioned challenge. Although she’s a lesser-known Democratic candidate among a sea of big names running for former U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel’s open seat representing Illinois’ 5th District, Donatelli is confident that her neighbors are hungry enough for change to vote in a “regular person.”[131]


Crain's Chicago Business (02/03/09) web log blogger Greg Hinz reports a mixed bag of organized labor endorsements for two of the Fifth Congressional District Democratic Party Special Primary Election: "AFSCME, the big government workers' union, quietly endorsed state Rep. John Fritchey, D-Chicago, over the weekend, according to Henry Bayer, who heads the union's Chicago regional unit.

   "John's been a good supporter for us," says Mr. Bayer, while another leading candidate, state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, D-Chicago, "personally blocked" a 50-cent-an-hour pay hike for those who work with the developmentally disabled.

   But another labor group that also represents such workers, SEIU, is leaning heavily toward Ms. Feigenholtz, with an announcement scheduled as soon as later this week, according to sources who should know. SEIU leaders reportedly view her as more aggressive in backing more government funds for health care, and believe she has a wide edge over any other candidate in raising campaign cash.

   A third union, the Illinois Federation of Teachers, is with Mr. Fritchey. That likely means its local affiliate, the Chicago Federation of Teachers, will endorse too.

   No big labor group as yet is backing County Commissioner Mike Quigley, a reformer who has been pushing for big cuts in the county budget. But with SEIU and AFSCME backing separate candidates, it doesn't sting nearly as bad as it might have if everybody was behind one contender.[132]


PublicAffairs2Point0 (02/02/09) web log blogger Jesse Greenberg questions whether organized labor was simply betting on the best prospect among Fifth Congressional District Democratic Primary candidates or thanking State of Illinois Representative John Fritchey's for his support of organized labor's legislative agenda "

     Yesterday’s endorsement of John Fritchey by the Illinois Federation of Teachers, AFSCME and the Teamsters was therefore a significant moment in the campaign but also very curious.

     John Fritchey is not the most “labor-friendly” candidate in the race.  In fact, I could name several others who do meet that bill - Tom Geoghegan, who jumps to the top of my mind, has built a career as an attorney fighting for labor.  Now, I’ll point to two items that make me question labor’s support of Fritchey.

     First, Fritchey supported altering the way state pensions are supported in Illinois.  The current pension model is known as a defined benefit plan, where employees pay into a pension fund and then get a percentage of that when they retire.  However, Fritchey backed a defined contribution program, which is akin to 401Ks where the amount one receives at retirement is based on their contribution, not the level and pay grade they reach during their career.  For organized labor, this very position is a red-line politically.  Labor has long supported the current defined benefit program and decried the defined contribution program.  See Fritchey’s letter to Crain’s elaborating in his support of defined contribution programs re-posted on his blog.

     Second, Fritchey voted twice in 1999 in support of school vouchers.  This is a major political issue for teachers unions, who as David Ormsby said,  are leading the charge against the voucher effort.  For teachers’ unions, they see vouchers as a way to override collective bargaining contracts, end job security for (bad) teachers and fund private/religious schools.  It seems Fritchey’s record on this matter runs counter to the long-held positions of organized labor and teachers’ unions in particular.

So the question is how come major unions moved to endorse Mr. Fritchey?

     I believe the answer is self-interest.  In short, labor wants to be on the winning side of the election and their bet is on Fritchey.  Why Fritchey?   Because the 5th District, as Don Rose points out,  is one of the most machine-heavy and least independent districts in the state.  Local ward bosses who can usher votes for candidates have tremendous power to help secure their winner and clearly  Fritchey has sought their support.  Though falling short of the necessary votes in a machine meeting to receive the overall endorsement, Fritchey did tally the most votes.  There is no doubt he felt it was important to go and get these ward boss’ support.  And if they can turn out winner, then labor wants to be on winning sides.[133]


Fred Klonsky's Blog (02/03/09) Web log blogger Mr. Klonsky's questions why the Illinois Federation of Teachers endorsed one of the fifteen Fifth Congressional District Democratic Party candidates--State of Illinois Representative John Fritchey. "The Illinois Federation of Teachers...recently endorsed State Rep. John Fritchey for the 5th CD, which is facing an election due to the vacancy created by Rahm Emanuel’s appointment as Obama’s Chief of Staff.

     Fritchey...backs vouchers. And what makes the teacher union endorsement most amazing, his blog calls for the transformation of teacher pensions from a defined benefit to a defined contribution system.[134] (02/02/09) web log blogger & Southwest side Chicago resident Pat Hickey criticizes what he describes as "cut & paste" issue campaigning in the candidate crowded Fifth Congressional District Special Primary Election campaign where national political contributions are driving candidate dialogue.

     "Up north, the Progressives, the boiled beets partisans, who spout ideological doctrines that can be cut and pasted from their campaign wall-papers which originate on sites like Emily's List,Progress Illinois, and Planned Parenthood have rattled worry beads and burned incesne to Sara Feigenholz - God loveher. Sara's minions are the grassroots of Progressive ism - the Boiled Beets Crowd. Someone boils the beets and the chosen mouthpieces lock-step behind them.

     I prefer candidates ( Democrat or Republican) who actually understand government, but, more importantly, the people of their neighborhoods - the people they are supposed to serve.

     John Fritchey seems like my kind of guy.

     Lately, John Fritchey has really impressed me by going to the root of campaign nonsense, clever dealing and wheeling, and speaking with an honest and open heart.

     His big challenger is the Grassroots/Boiled Beets Progressive turnip Sara Feigenholtz. Feigenholtz sprouted up recently with gobs of cash and endorsements from the trendy rubber stamps of NOW and Emily's Listand also appeared on Blago's Clout List - Lord Have Mercy![135] (02/02/09) reports on the official Fifth Congressional District Special Election Federal Election Commission candidate fund-raising:


Below are the Year End fundraising numbers for the special election candidates. The money raised covers only the period from 11/25/08-12/31/08, so many candidates did not file a report. Reports were due 1/31. 


Candidate YE Total Receipts YE Total Spent Total Debt Cash On-Hand
Rep. Feigenholtz (D) $324,032 $24,495 $7,851 $299,538
Dr.  Forys (D) $160,130* $22,817 $137,312 $137,313
Com. Quigley (D) $138,290 $3,561 $0 $134,730
Dr. Wheelan (D) $108,822 $19,564 $0 $89,259
Ms. Donatelli (D) $15,651 $6,956 $0 $8,695


* Includes $100K personal loan to his campaign[136]


Chicago Daily Observer (01/30/09) WTTW-Channel 11 Chicago Tonight host John Calloway interviews Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass who, in turn, explains that impeached Governor Rod Blagojevich's New York television talk show appearances shouldn't be seen as aberration. Kass reminds viewers that Illinois State Representative & Fifth Congressional District candidate John Fritchey has married in to one of the leading political families tracing origins back to Chicago's 36th Ward Regular Democratic Organization, the City of Chicago Zoneing Committee, and leadership of the Fifth Congressional District.[137]


Gapeas Block (02/03/09) web log blogger Mike Fourcher concluded it as a "net negative" that many of the Fifth Congressional District candidates found themselves sprawled across the stage during Sunday's De Paul University forum.  

     "The truth is that the 5th CD is blessed with an abundance of people interested (willing?) (enough) to lay down their lives for the sake of public service, and Sunday's forum demonstrated that. Yes, the event revealed it's share of mooks definitely not ready for prime time, but really the amount of wonkish talent on display was impressive. Even John Fritchey, maligned by his opponents as "the machine candidate," showed his policy chops on Sunday.

     Through the course of the forum we never got any real discussion of issues - that wasn't possible during the discussion - but Lynn Sweet pressed the participants to make some meaningful statements. And we got them. Economics professor Charlie Wheelan demonstrated that he understood the bailout plan better than most. Sara Feigenholz showed her understanding of human services needs. Tom Geoghegan made earnest pleas on behalf of the working man, and Mike Quigley reminded us that he's been a steadfast reformer in Cook County government.[138] (02/03/09) web log blogger Don Rose characterizes the western portion of the Fifth Congressional District as a place where the "most odiously connected elements of the Machine, lodged in the western wards and suburbs, where the line between crime and politics is often diffuse."

     “All in the Family” Fritchey, who also is 32nd Ward committeeman, is one of three leading candidates, along with State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz. A sliver of her legislative district is in the 5th CD. She is permitted to vote a liberal/feminist line in accord with her constituency, but otherwise requires surgical removal from House Speaker Mike Madigan-whose Chicago firm, surprise, practices zoning law.

     Feigenholtz doled out lots of cash to Blagojevich before voting to impeach him–and manages to disappear when critical reform votes come up, such as the bill to permit recall of errant public officials. (”Reformer” (John)Fritchey voted outright against the bill.) Feigenholtz, however, will gain a gender vote throughout the district-perhaps as much as 25 percent, which could win in this divided field.

     The third leading candidate is County Commissioner Mike Quigley, known citywide as a genuine reformer on the County Board. His campaign seems to be based on the fact that he is more against County Board President Todd Stroger than anyone on the planet-or at least any of the 14 candidates running.[139] (02/02/09) web log blog calls for campaign finance reform "While all of these approaches may help to give independents & their political affiliates an opportunity to’s no substitute for getting Chicago’s broadcast media & press reporters on board as part of an optimal solution. Lacking FCC regulatory “equal time” (more like equal access) provisions, it's expected that leading Chicago journalists, their editors & news planners will continue to favor elected officials over their challengers, primary political parties over upstarts, and “The Chicago Way” over the Reformed Way. 

     Ask yourself whether Governor Patrick Quinn’s innovative approach to governmental reform is any more compelling today than with his lightly attended Sunday morning Bismarck Hotel news conferences just upstairs from where Operation Gambit informant & mob attorney Robert Cooley claims that Chicago's corrupt First Ward leaders dispensed bribes, murder acquittals & assassinations.[140]


CQ Politics (02/02/09) web log blogger Emma Dumain predicts that the recent impeachment of Governor Rod Blagojevich, Fifth District Congressman Rahm Israel Emanuel's predecessor, may color voter preferences in the upcoming March 3rd Special Primary Election to replace Emanuel who resigned to accept appointment as President Barack Obama's Chief of Staff. 

     "Voters on Chicago’s North Side and its close-in suburbs knew what they were getting when they voted in November to send Democrat Rahm Emanuel back to Congress.

     Now, it’s anybody’s guess who will end up representing Illinois’ Fifth Congressional District, which has become a political free-for-all now that Emanuel has quit his House seat to become President Obama’s chief of staff.

     Vying to succeed Emanuel are six Republicans, five Green Party candidates and Democrats of all persuasions — 25 candidates in all, with the size of the field and the peculiar local political environment making the outcome hard to handicap.

     The seat was once held by Rod W. Blagojevich, the Democrat who was thrown out as governor amid accusations that he tried to profit from his power to appoint Obama’s Senate successor. Still-fresh feelings about Blagojevich could have an impact on the March 3 primary and special April 7 election, said Josh Kalven, editor of the Web site Progress Illinois.

     “It could create an opportunity for a candidate who’s squeaky clean – who’s an outsider in terms of machine politics in the city and state – to have a shot at the seat,” Kalven said.

     Voters in that district consistently choose Democrats. The only recent exception came in 1994, when Rep. Dan Rostenkowski tried to seek an 18th term while embroiled in a corruption scandal. Even then, Republican successor Michael Patrick Flanagan was unseated after just one term.[141]


Chicago Argus "World's Greatest Weblog" (02/02/09) web log blogger Gregory Tejeda reminds Fifth Congressional District Special Primanry Election voters that the current cast of characters appears to pale by comparison to the recently resigned incumbent Congressman Rahm Israel Emanuel who currently serves as President Barack Obama's Chief of Staff.


     "It appears that Rahm Emanuel, the former member of Congress from the Northwest Side who is now President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, does have the thought somewhere in the back of his head that he can return to Capitol Hill someday.

     At least that’s what could be inferred by the comments of a state legislator who wants to move up to Congress in the special election to be held March 7 to replace Emanuel. State Rep. John Fritchey, D-Chicago, let it slip during a candidate forum Sunday at DePaul University that the former Congressman once mentioned a few months ago he might someday run again for the post.

     SUCH A THOUGHT shocks me in the same way that Capt. Renault was “shocked, shocked” to find gambling at Rick’s Café Americain.

     What is important to note is that we must be very specific about what is being said here.

     If Fritchey is being honest (and I have no reason to doubt that he is in this instance), it is merely that Emanuel might someday want to return to the world of Capitol Hill.

     Emanuel allegedly was on track as a member of Congress to become a very high-ranking member of the House of Representatives, and some suggest he might have someday become House Speaker.

     IN THEORY, RESIGNING his seat in Congress took him off the political path to achieve that goal (which is a rather ambitious one, similar to how Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., has his own dreams of someday being Majority Leader).

     Now one can argue that as chief of staff to the president, he is in a position of very significant political power. Emanuel is the guy who will be responsible for engaging in the hard-core partisan politics needed to advance the ideals of an Obama agenda.

     And there will even be times when Emanuel will be the guy who drags the president into a side room, and privately tells him how he’s screwing things up and what he needs to do to fix things.

     In short, being White House chief of staff can be just as powerful a post as being a congressional leader. Except that the leaders of Congress get the titles and the ability to say they have power in and of itself.

     WHAT EMANUEL HAS now is merely the ability to influence a person with political power.

     So it would be natural that a part of him had some misgivings about taking the new post, and that a part of him might want to keep his options open to return to his old political world – if it is at all practically possible.

     There’s also a part of me that is kind of glad that Emanuel seems to realize that being in the White House is NOT a lifetime appointment. He realizes that the day will come when he is no longer chief of staff to the so-called “Leader of the Free World.”

     While it is not typical that someone in such a White House post decides to return to electoral politics (most hang around its fringes become high-priced consultants or wind up making speeches and appearances for high fees – trading off the reputation they built during their up-to-eight years that they worked for a U.S. president), it is typical that White House people have to have a life AWH (“After White House”).

     THE KEY AS to whether Emanuel’s behavior with regard to his old seat in Congress is whether or not any specific agreement exists.[142]


NBC Channel 5 WMAQ-TV's web site features Beachwood Reporter's (02/02/09) Steve Rhodes reflecting on almost one dozen Democratic Party candidates seated across the stage @ the De Paul University forum, one of the first of several in the Fifth District Congressional Special Primary Election scheduled for March 3rd, 2009.

     "The race to replace Rahm Emanuel in Congress has already given us something we rarely see in these parts: opposition to Mayor Daley.

     All 11 candidates attending a forum at DePaul University on Sunday said they would fight Daley's plan to privatize Midway Airport, the Sun-Times reports.

     The airport is not in the 5th congressional district in which they are running, but maybe the next congressperson from the North Side will make a federal case out of it.[143] (02/01/09) web log blogger known as "wegerje" applauded ingenue Fifth Congressional District candidate Jan Donatelli's performance at the Super Bowl Sunday De Paul University Democratic Party candidate forum.

     " Forum. Well, Okay, the fire marshals weren't actually there (at least not to my knowledge.) What an amazing event. Beyond my expectations in every way. This is the way democracy is supposed to be run. It's a shame it wasn't on network tv. Hat's off to all the sponsors.

     The winner was Jan H. Donatelli. Of course, that's in the expectations game. The runner's up were the doctors. But don't get me wrong, the professional politicians held their own. Even Frank Annunzio presented himself well.[144]


Triple "C" Policy & Governance Forum (02/01/09) Web log blogger known as "Triple P" quantified Fifth Congressional District Democratic Party contestant forum performance "I'm going to try to explain my analysis as best as possible but I took a LOT of notes and explaining my impressions of the candidates with substaintiated examples of all their actions would be utterly draining. I'll do my best.

1) I will provide a candidate scorecard that shows their stance on the issues asked about
2) I'll give my impressions and rankings (both overall and just at the forum)
3) I'll summarize the questions and answers from the forum
4) I'll make a fuller analysis available for those special candidates (those who should be supported and those who should not be supported at all cost)
My Impression of the Forum
     The forum was entertaining, informative, and eye-opening.  A lot of the people on that stage did not belong there.  Some of my prejudices were substantited and some were not.  The candidates were introduced by Lynn Sweet, the moderator and were each given 3 minutes to introduce themselves which they also had to use to make clear their position on gay marriage, universal healthcare, and the Oslo accords.  It was made clear it was not a debate.  She then asked questions to 1 or 2 candidates and then took volunteers after that."[145] 


43rd Ward Democrats (02/01/09) Committeeperson Michele Smith boasted a big turnout "Over 500 people attended the 5th CD Democratic Candidates Forum at DePaul on Super Bowl Sunday with another 100 people listening outside the hall! 13 candidates for the Congressional seat vacated by Rahm Emanuel were heard from. The event was hosted by the DePaul College Democrats and presented by IVI-IPO. the Northside DFA and the 43rd Ward Democrats."

     Broadcast, print & cable news coverage favored Democratic Fifth Congressional candidates @ the exclusion of the six Republicans & Five Green Party Congressional candidates.[146]


WBBM-Television News (02/01/09) reporter Mike Puccinelli describes the cast of Democratic Party candidates vying for retired Congressman Rahm Emanuel's Fifth District Congressional seat. [147]


Northwest Area Citizens Organzation (02/01/09) "Like Punxsutawney Phil, Rahm Looms Large Over De Paul University Democratic Fifth Congressional Forum" Three experienced State & Cook County legislators mixed it up with eight newcomers in the first Democratic Party Fifth Congressional District De Paul University forum, February 1st--hours before Super Bowl 43 & on the eve of Groundhog's Day.

     "While many of the candidates may have welcomed their good fortune to have Chicago's media reporting on the well-attended affair, former Congressman & now President Barack Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Israel Emanuel loomed large. Emanuel has taken on mythic proportion in this Northside Chicago & near Northwest suburban Congressional District. Emanuel's Democratic & Republican opponents received scant attention while the diminutive former ballet dancer recruited winning candidates to help the Democratic Party win back a Congressional majority.

     A charismatic hero of mythic proportion is what the De Paul University audience of 500 came looking for on Groundhog Day Eve. Congressman Emanuel's success & the savvy media advice of US Presidential adviser David Axelrod raised the performance bar for all who would follow.

     Were Congressman Emanuel's legend not in that De Paul Auditorium, the candidates might have simply spoken to the issues in their own voice, but now the voters are looking for someone special who will inspire as did President Barack Obama. Coming off reports that Democratic Party candidate fund-raising may be, to paraphrase the dot-com era investment phrase "forward looking," Fifth Congressional District competitors struggled before 500 voters to find their political legs in a crowded field.

      Chicago Sun Times columnist Lynn Sweet served up substantive questions which invited the candidates to distinguish themselves as  those knowledgeable about the quantitative. In the same way as the September 11, 2001 terrorist hijackings divided Americans based on national security concern, the nation's current economic quagmire forced Fifth District Congressional candidates to demonstrate their knowledge of the intracacies of federal taxation & spending so that they might propose their own economic stimulus plan. That October 8th, 2009 Troubled Asset Relief Program vote...forced elected officials to offer a reasoned approach to the quantitative more than just the same old socialist liberal rhetoric which played well along Chicago's Lakefront.[148]


Chicago Sun Times (02/01/09) columnist & De Paul University Fifth Congressional District Democratic candidate forum qustioned the absence of Mayor Daley's unofficial City Council floor leader Alderman Patrick O'Conner "The candidate most often mentioned as a potential seat-warmer for Emanuel, Mayor Daley's unofficial floor leader, Ald. Patrick O'Connor (40th) was conspicuous by his absence at Sunday's forum at DePaul University featuring 11 of the 13 Democrats on the ballot for the March 3 primary election. Sun-Times Washington, D.C. Bureau Chief Lynn Sweet asked the questions.

          O'Connor has strongly denied running as a place-holder for Emanuel. University officials placed 10 telephone calls and e-mails to O'Connor, who never responded to any of them, they said. 

          The only other Democratic Congressional candidate not in attendance was Emanuel's 2002 opponent--former Clinton Administration official--Pete Dagher of Franklin Park, Illinois--is fighting a ballot challenge to his petitions.[149] (01/30/09) web log blogger notes that The Nation has endorsed labor lawyer Fifth Congressional District candidate Tom Geoghegan "received an endorsement from The Nation: By day he is a Chicago labor lawyer, representing clients caught in the bear trap of deindustrialization, downsizing and unionbusting. He has represented folks who have lost their pensions or been denied their rightful benefits--even union members taking on corrupt union bureaucracies. As the unionized workforce has dwindled and the possibility of making a living in labor law along with it, Geoghegan has branched out, suing payday lenders for their usurious exploitation of the poor and helping represent the City of Chicago in its suit against gun manufacturers.

The Geoghegan campaign has also released a series of videos featuring the Chicago labor lawyer.  Below, he talks about the agreed order settlement of a lawsuit which challenged Advocate Health Care for handling of charitable health care to indigent Fifth Congressional District residents."[150]


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(Service Employees International Union SEIU sponsors the Internet web site.)


Capitalfax.Blogspot (01/31/09) Web log blogger & Springfield correspondant Rich Miller reminds liberals congregating behind candidates oriented along the Lakefront of the Fifth Congressioinal District that "The sheer number of contestants, and the coverage of other political items of interest (Obama's inaugural/presidency and Blagojevich's impeachment) has kept the media at a bit of a distance from this race. The setup piece for Congressional Quarterly's online operation notes: "The 5th is 'very Catholic, very conservative,' he said. 'Democrats from Chicago are not necessarily like Democrats from San Francisco.'" Many people consider this one of the most ethnically diverse congressional districts in the country. "The district covers 486 Chicago city precincts and 92 suburban Cook County precincts in Leyden and Proviso Townships." While 65% of the workforce was defined as white collar in the 2000 census, and 34% of the population had a bachelor's degree. 23% of the district (not necessarily voters) is Hispanic, but 43% spoke a language other than English. Carol Marin observed this: "The 5th District is demographically diverse but it is also, at its core, a working-class, union, Catholic constituency with more cops and teachers than brokers and bankers."[151]


The Association of Flight Attendants-Communications Workers of America (AFL-CIO) (01/30/09) endorsed one of the two FAA certified Air Crewman/Pilots in the March 3rd Fifth Congressional District Primarny Election. AFA-CWA-AFL-CIO is urging flight attendant members to back retired United Airlines pilot Jan Donatelli. "In the special Congressional election to fill Congressman Rahm (Israel) Emanuel's seat, the Association of Flight Attendants - CWA (AFA-CWA) has endorsed (ALPA) union member Jan Donatelli for Congress in Illinois' 5th Congressional District. 

     The AFA-CWA Political/Legislative Policy Committee issued the endorsement for Jan Donatelli based on her union experience and her stance on our issues. Jan is committed to protect domestic airline jobs. On outsourcing, Jan trumpets "No relaxation of cabotage, No majority foreign ownership, No outsourcing of aircrews." Jan understands the need for meaningful healthcare reform. "How can United Airlines, for example...truly compete on an even playing field with British Airways, which has minimal or no healthcare costs?" 

     The AFA-CWA-AFL-CIO goes on to remind member flight attendants that "Jan is committed to increased aircraft security measures including increased screening of checked bags and cargo as well as mandatory security training for flight attendants. "...the current state of flight attendant security training is a travesty." As a former pilot, Jan understands that qualification for the Family and Medical Leave Act must be corrected so that flight crew members can take advantage of this federal right. 

     Green Party Fifth Congressional District candidate Mark Arnold Fredrickson has also earned distinction as a FAA certified Air Crewman [152] (01/30/09) web log blogger James Taranto notes fellow blogger Johanna Neuman of the Los Angeles Times may have discovered a new public employment opportunity for impeached Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich--his former post as the Congressman representing Illinois Fifth District.

     "We have another idea: Why not a political comeback? In a 1989 impeachment trial, the U.S. Senate convicted Judge Alcee Hastings of a series of charges, thereby removing him from the bench. Unlike in yesterday's trial, the Senate did not exercise its option to forbid Hastings from future office, and in 1992 he ran for and won a House seat from Florida, which he holds to this day.

     Blagojevich can't run for Illinois office, but the state Senate does not have the power to bar him from federal positions. He has served in the House before, and as it happens, he lives in the Fifth Congressional District, the one previously represented by Rostenkowski. The seat is vacant and will be filled by special election April 7. The primary is March 3, so if he wants to run, he'd better move quickly.[153]


The Chicago Daily Observer (01/30/09) columnist Russ Stewart forecasts two possible victors in the Democratic Primary Fifth Congressional District March 3rd, 2009 primary depending on the number of voters casting ballots. "The Democratic field includes several heavyweights, including State Representatives John Fritchey and Sara Feigenholtz, County Commissioner Mike Quigley, and Alderman Pat O’Connor (40th). Democratic ward and township committeemen, at their slatemaking session, made no endorsement, but the most powerful are backing Fritchey. Turnout will be anemic. The lower it is, the better for Fritchey; the higher, the better for Feigenholtz. Who(m)ever best postures as the “different” candidate – unconnected to Blagojevich and the corrupt status quo – will win. The next congressman will be: a. Fritchey; b. Feigenholtz; c. Quigley; d. O’Connor.

My predictions: 5a.[154]


The Cook County Electoral Board  (01/30/09) ordered voting registration record examinations for four of the remaining twenty five Fifth Congressional District March 3rd, 2009 Primary Election candidates during the Friday morning hearing. Voter turnout in the March, 2008 Democratic Party Presidential Primary Elections determines that each of the three Democratic Party candidates must prove that more than 900 registered voters signed each of their nominating petitons, while the sole Republican candidate--Rosanna Pulido must prove up more than 300 valid voter signatures grace her political nominating petition.

     Some of the four challenged candidates chose to engage the services of attorneys concentrated in the practice of election law. At least one Democratic candidate Roger A. Thompson III had not engaged the services of an attorney by Friday's scheduled hearing, while another candidate--University of Chicago economist Charles Wheelan--was represented by independent election attorney Richard Means. Wheelan is using the petition challenge as targeted fund-raiser. Two other Democratic Party Primary Election candidates--Pete Dagher & Carlos Monteagudo also appeared to answer these petition challenges.

     Cook County Board of Review counsel & election attorney Thomas Jaconetti represented three of the petition challengers. Jaconetti has represented political nominating petition challengers in a variety of campaigns. Generally, his clients include elected official members of the Regular Democratic Organization being opposed within a contested political primary or by Republicans running against his RDO clients. The Northwest Area Citizens Organization reported on December 28, 2005 Jaconetti also represented petition challengers against incumbent elected officials who were members of the Hispanic Democratic Organization in 2006 after a member of the HDO plead guilty to federal charges in the US Attorney's Hired Truck probe.[155]

     Cook County Clerk's Office Electoral Board employees will conduct the initial examination on Saturday, January 31st, 2009. Three teams assigned to examine City of Chicago voter registration records & one team assigned to compare petition signatures with Cook County voting records should complete their initial examination before the next scheduled Electoral Board meeting on Thursday, February 5th, 2009, according to the head of the Cook County Board of Elections. (01/29/08) "Scorecard" web log blogger Josh Kraushaar describes the novel advertising approach employed by one of the nominating petition challenged Fifth Congressional District Democratic Party candidates. University of Chicago economics lecturer Charles Wheelan employed to get voter attention while football fans are watching the Super Bowl game. "In a 15-candidate Democratic primary field for Rahm Emanuel’s Congressional seat, it can be tough to get noticed.

     So economics professor Charlie Wheelan took the unconventional step of recording his first campaign ad  submerged in water while discussing the country’s economic woes.

     "Underwater. That's where a lot of us are financially thanks to the Bush administration and greed on Wall Street," a fully clothed Wheelan says in the ad as bubbles come out of his mouth.[156] 


YouTube plugin error ( 01/29/09) web log blogger Ellen Malcolm, founder of Emily's List, makes a gender-based appeal on behalf of Democratic Party Fifth District Congressional candidate Sara Feigenholtz without exploring qualifications of male competitors "Which brings me to the special election in Illinois's fifth congressional district, where on March 3, Democrats will choose a nominee to replace Rahm Emanuel. This Chicago-based district is heavily Democratic, so whoever wins the nomination will be the odds-on favorite to go to Congress. This open-seat race has attracted a large crowd, but there's only one woman in the top tier, and she's got a 14-year record of passing progressive legislation that's really made a difference in the lives of women and families: state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz.

Sara's record is dazzling. She's behind laws guaranteeing equal pay, requiring insurance companies to cover contraception, and increasing access to breast and cervical cancer screening and treatment. She led the fight to expand the state's FamilyCare program to cover low-income parents. She increased funding for AIDS treatment and for in-home care for the elderly. She is 100 percent pro-choice and cosponsored legislation codifying reproductive rights in Illinois should Roe v. Wade be overturned. She sponsored the law protecting Illinois citizens from discrimination based on sexual orientation and has consistently supported hate crimes legislation. And Sara has consistently received high ratings from both the AFL-CIO and the Sierra Club. Sara Feigenholtz is a true blue progressive with a record of results."[157]


the Capital Fax Blog (01/28/09) Web log blogger Rich Miller reports on endorsements, bush whacking candidates & one political nominating petition challenge:

* Forrest Claypool is set to endorse Mike Quigley for Congress this morning at 10 o’clock. It’s no big surprise, but I’ll have the press release when it’s sent out.

Quigley, of course, is running in the 5th Congressional District special election. The Claypool endorsement could help Quigley, if his own poll is to be believed

Forrest Claypool is extremely popular among 5th District Democrats (66% Fav / 9% Unfav), with a favorability ratio of better than 7 to 1. A Claypool endorsement could play a major role in this race, with 56% of primary voters more likely to vote for a candidate with Claypool’s support.

* Meanwhile, Fox Chicago finally caught up with another candidate in the 5th District special election, Rep. Sara Feigenholtz. The station has been trying to get an answer about a poll Feigenholtz ran that used some pretty harsh and misleading questions about two of her opponents, Quigley and Rep. John Fritchey. Feigenholtz didn’t answer many questions. Watch it by clicking here.

* As you may already know, Rosanna Pulido of the Illinois Minutemen Project is running as a Republican in the 5th District race. Her nominating petitions are being challenged by Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights director Josh Hoyt. [158] (01/27/09) web log (blogger) Angela Caputo writes of the political nominating petition challenge facing one of the Republican Party Fifth Congressional District candidates, "Minuteman Project Illinois leader Rosanna are facing 'a vigorous petition challenge' by Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) director Josh Hoyt, who lives in the 5th District. From a statement issued by Hoyt yesterday:

     Back in 2007, she told a House subcommittee that Chicago is “under siege by illegal aliens who speak Spanish, use public services and take jobs away from citizens.” During a May 2008 appearance on a local radio show, she suggested that the Chicago Police bring AK-47s to an (ultimately peaceful) protest by a group of immigrant rights activists.  She also opposed a bill to allow detained immigrants to receive visits from members of the clergy here in Illinois.  Furthermore, she is the regional field coordinator for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), whose leadership is linked to white nationalist views.

     The Cook County Officers Electoral Board will weigh Hoyt's objection, along with other petition challenges in the 5th District race, at a Friday morning hearing. [159] 

(Service Employees International Union SEIU sponsors the web site) (01/27/09) questions who will receive the endorsement of withdrawn Fifth District Congrssional candidate Justin Oberman, his father--former alderman Marty Oberman--and all of J.B. Pritzker's financial support?

     "Justin Oberman, the son of former Chicago Alderman Marty Oberman, bailed from the race to replace Rahm Emanuel in the Illinois 5th CD in a letter to supporters last Friday–but Oberman declined to nudge his supporters, like J.B. Pritzker, behind any of the remaining candidates in his farewell.

     During his 12-minute, first-time candidacy, Oberman raised $160,000 and collected 3,000 petition signatures and recruited high-power backers, like Pritzker. That’s not bad in contrast to 10-year Cook County Commissioner veteran Mike Quigley who collected only 2,500 signature and reported came up short on his year-end $100,000 fund-raising goal.

     Oberman leaves behind some check-writers and foot-soldiers. Who, if any one, will Oberman endorse? Quigley? State Reprensentative Sara Feigenholtz? John Fritchey? 40th Ward Alderman Patrick O’Connor? Attorney Tom Geoghegan?

     Smart money says the smart candidates have already called Oberman looking his help with his ex-money. And Pritzker has probably also had a call or two. Or should.[160] (01/28/09) Fifth Congressional District candidate John Fritchey may have "bit off more than he could chew" when he pushed back against Fox News celebrity Geraldo Rivera as reported by Josh Kraushaar on his Politico web log (blog), "One of the leading Democrats vying to succeed Rahm in Congress clashed yesterday with excitable Fox News’ anchor Geraldo Rivera in an interview about Rod Blagojevich’s impeachment trial. Illinois state Rep. John Fritchey has been running for Congress as a leading voice calling for Blagojevich’s impeachment on the campaign trail – but encountered some resistance while on FOX yesterday.

     Rivera, defending Blagojevich, accused Fritchey of “taking money from the pharmaceutical lobby" as his motivation for working to impeach the governor. “Is it not a fact that you have taken money from lobbyists from the pharmaceutical industry, and is it not a fact, sir, that that is the basis for this impeachment? This is politics, and that stinks!”

     Responded Fritchey: “You know, actually, what stinks is your reluctance to listen to the facts.”

     Rivera has lately been one of the leading Blagojevich defenders in the media, and accused the Illinois state Senate impeachment trial of being a kangaroo court.[161]


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Public Affairs 2.0 (01/27/09) web log blogger Jesse Greenberg (01/27/09) applauded Democratic Party Fifth Congressional District candidate Sara Feigenholtz's National Organization for Women endorsement which was offered without inviting opposing candidates to state their positions on the issues.  That was the second gender-based endorsement after Emily's list putting the outcome of this congested race in the hands of hundreds of contributors living both inside & outside the Fifth Congressional District. Greenberg characterized three of Feigenholtz's three oponents--economist Charles Wheelan, Cook County Board member Mike Quigley & labor lawyer Tom Geoghegan--for their professed expertise, but cautioned that "Candidates need to be remarkable and memorable.  Nobody is going to know all a candidate’s positions and history.  They’re going to know generally what a candidate stands for and what core issues they are defined by.  Whoever can paint that clear picture and motivate the right constituents to vote, will be well-positioned come election day."[162]


Feet in Two Worlds-Telling the Stories of Today's Immigrants (01/27/09) web log blogger Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska writes about one of the fifteen candidates vying for the Democratic Party nomination in the Fifth Congressional District Special Primary Election set for March 3, 2009 "One of the 15 Democrats in the race is a Polish immigrant: Dr. Victor Forys, a political newcomer who believes he has a serious chance due to the area’s large Polish-American population.

     Out of approximately 650,000 residents in the district, more than 111,000 (17%) are of Polish descent.

However, according to Monika Mysliwiec, Polish coordinator at the Chicago Board of Elections, there is no data on how many Poles residing in the district are registered and how many of them participate in elections.

     Forys admits that in recent decades Poles in America have not been very active in politics, both in terms of voting and offering financial support to candidates. This attitude is reflected in the low number of federal, state, and local officials who are Polish-American. “But we’re educating people right now, and we’re getting the message out,” he said. “Even before the presidential election there have been a lot of efforts to register Polish voters in churches. Other organizations have also registered hundreds of Polish voters, even in this district.”

     According to the Chicago Sun-Times, in early January the Forys campaign reported having raised $160,000, which made him number two in fundraising among the 5th District candidates, following State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, who at that time had raised $300,000.

     Other candidates in the Democratic primary race include some long-time Chicago politicians, such as Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley and State Representatives Sara Feigenholtz and John Fritchey. There are also some newcomers, including former commercial pilot Jan Donatelli, lawyer Tom Geoghegan, and another doctor, Paul Bryar.

     Nevertheless, Frank Spula, president of the Polish American Congress, was skeptical about a strategy based mostly on the Polish vote. Spula stopped short of making a prediction about Forys’ chances, especially considering the large number of candidates.

“At this point, I think he has just as much of a chance as anybody else running for office,” Mr. Spula said.[163]


The State of Illinois Board of Elections-Cook County Clerk's Office (01/26/09) reports that five of the remaining twenty five Fifth District Congressional candidates received political nominating petition challenges on the final challenge day. The only Republican candidate to be challenged out of those six who filed originally--Minuteman immigration activist Rosanna Pulido--was challenged by Josh Hoyt of 4814 North Winchester, Chicago, IL 60640. Pulido's petitions were originally copied by a single party--Ivan Gonzalez, 3108 West Irving Park Road, Chicago, IL 60618 at 12:18pm on January 20, 2009--four minutes after the candidate herself copied petitions of one other Republican candidate--Daniel S. Kay (Karkusiewicz). Pulido apparently filed no challenges against her fellow GOP candidate after initially purchasing copies of Mr. Kay's political nominating petitions.

         The remaining challenged Democratic Primary Election candidates included former Clinton Administration official Pete Dagher who opposed incumbent Congressman Rahm Israel Emanuel in the 2002 Democratic Primary. US District Court guilty pleas entered by former City of Chicago Department of Water Resources Assistant Deputy Commissioner Donald Tomczak indicated that Tomczak violated the 1983 Shakman Consent Decree when Tomczak ordered City of Chicago employees to work in favor of Mayor Richard M. Daley's endorsed candidate--former Freddie Mac Board of Director member & now President Obama's Chief of Staff--Rahm Emanuel. [164] Democratic Primary Election results reported that Dagher placed third behind Emanuel & former State Representative Nancy Kaszak.

          The three remaining Democratic Primary Election candidates being challenged include University of Chicago economist Mr. Charles Wheelan, Mr. Roger A. Thompson & Mr. Carlos A. Monteagudo.

          Since multiple parties copied candidate petitions, the source of the challenge to the four Democratic Party Primary Election candidate petitions is not readily apparent. [165]


The Chicago Journal (01/23/09) columnist & blogger Jessica Pupovac observes that "The shotgun race for the coveted seat, which catapulted its last two occupants onto bigger and better things, has already attracted nearly a dozen contenders (25 by last count 01/25/09). At least three long-time Chicago Democrats - Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley, State Representative Sara Feigenholtz and Alderman Gene Schulter (Schulter dropped out of contention January 10, 2009) are in the game, and confirmed their candidacy this week.

     But campaigns are being launched by a throng of newcomers, all hoping that a mounting distrust of career politicians, heightened by the Blagojevich scandal, could prompt voters in the Fifth District to opt for a wildcard.[166] web log blogger Jesse Greenberg (01/25/09) observes that "The highly competitive nature of this race combined with a uniquely talented field of candidates - from current elected and popular public officials to notable and qualified non-career politicians - suggests that any edge a candidate can sustain over their competition will be significant going into the March 3rd primary.  Moreover, with only a month until election day, momentum will play a very big role in making impressions on voters.

     My current sense is that the established candidates might be going after each other hard and beating each other up - at least that’s the story traditional media is portraying.  That leaves room for the start-ups to really focus on winning the grassroots and hone their message.  That may prove key in winning an upset.



Democratic Candidate Justin P. Oberman (01/23/09) has withdrawn his Democratic Primary candidacy in the Fifth Congressional District March 3rd, 2009 primary. "When we started, the field was wide open and the prospects for a successful campaign were promising.  But in the past week, that landscape has changed substantially.  It is now clear that most regular Democratic ward organizations across the district will be united behind one of my opponents; when viewed in the context of the short time until Election Day and the exceptionally low turnout expected in this special election, we have determined there isn't enough time to earn the votes we need to win.[168]


Progress Illinois (01/23/09) web log blogger Josh Kalven reports on the Democratic Primary contestants in the Fifth Congressional District Special Election Primary.  The deadline for filing such challenges (to political nominating petitions) is Monday, so stay tuned.

     In other 5th District news, Tom Geogheghan recorded a 45-minute interview with veteran journalist William Greider that's well worth a listen. The (candidate Geogheghan's own campaign Internet web site) post concludes: "Fighting for workers, and fighting for the public schools: those are the kinds of things Tom’s law practice have been about."

     Meanwhile, Sara Feigenholtz released a web video featuring her fellow Springfield State Representatives & roomates--State Reps. Julie Hamos, Elaine Nekritz, and Susana Mendoza

     Finally, John Fritchey was endorsed by the Teamsters Joint Council 25 and the Operating Engineers Local 150. He also spoke out in favor of a federal court's decision to strike down the Illinois law requiring a moment of silence in public schools. From a press release:

“I applaud the court’s decision to protect our schools, teachers and schoolchildren,” said Fritchey, adding, “I support the decision of any individual to use the moment of silent reflection for prayer, but this should be an individual choice and not a state imposed mandate."

     UPDATE: Capitol Fax has more news. Justin Oberman has apparently dropped out of the race and the lottery for the top three ballot spots was conducted today.

     UPDATE II: Mike Quigley's issues page is up-and-running and includes a page devoted to the economic stimulus.[169]

(The Service Employees International Union SEIU sponsors the Internet web site)



Your Two Cents Less (01/23/09) Web log blogger David Ormsby writes that "Quigley’s (fund-raising) problems have been compounded by the entrance of 40th Ward Alderman Patrick O’Connor into the race. According to Quigley’s own poll, with O’Connor in, Quigley takes 14%, Feigenholtz 10%, O’Connor 8%, and State Rep. John Fritchey (D-Chicago) 7%. O’Connor’s presence diminishes Quigley’s lead over Feigenholtz by four points. (Quigley's own poll reported that more than half of those responding didn't favor one of the better known candidates or remained undecided. That poll was taken before the January 19th candidate filing deadline.)

     Speaking of O’Connor, he may be in, but he’s not on. His Web site announces: “Under Construction”. The Alderman better giddy up–there are only 39 days until election day.[170]


Nadig Newspaper's Russ Stewart's latest analysis.  (01/21/09)

... it all comes down to turnout.  If it's less than 30,000, Fritchey wins; if it's more than 40,000, it will be a Feigenholtz upset.


The Peoria Journal Star (Associated Press) (01/21/09) reporter Deanna Bellandi writes from the perspective of one of the six Republican candidates:


A crowded field of candidates has filed paperwork to vie for the chance to replace former Democratic Congressman Rahm Emanuel, who resigned his seat to be President Barack Obama's chief of staff. A March 3 special primary election will winnow the field for the April 7 special general election. 


-State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, Chicago

-State Rep. John Fritchey, Chicago

-Justin Oberman, Chicago

-Charles Wheelan, Chicago

-Dr. Victor A. Forys, Park Ridge

-Pete Dagher, Franklin Park

-Jan H. Donatelli, Chicago

-Frank Annunzio, Chicago

-Carlos A. Monteagudo, Chicago

-Paul J. Bryar, Chicago

-Roger A. Thompson III, Chicago

-Tom Geoghegan, Chicago

-Cary Capparelli, Chicago

-Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley, Chicago

-Chicago Alderman Patrick J. O'Connor, Chicago


-Tom Hanson, Chicago

-Jon Stewart, Deerfield

-Gregory A. Bedell, Chicago

-Roasnna Pulido, Chicago

-Daniel S. Kay (Karkusiewicz), Northlake

-David J. Anderson, Chicago


-Deb Leticia Gordils, Chicago

-Mark Arnold Fredrickson, Chicago

-Alan Augustson, Chicago

-Mathew Reichel, Chicago

-Simon Ribeiro, Evanston


Source: Illinois State Board of Elections.

President Barack Obama has called on people to work for change, and former professional wrestler Jon Stewart has signed up.

A Republican who voted for Obama, Stewart is one of 26 people running in a special primary election for the chance to replace former Democratic Congressman Rahm Emanuel, who resigned the seat to be Obama's chief of staff.

Stewart is hoping voters who made the switch from a Republican to a Democrat in the White House will swing Emanuel's district - a longtime Democratic stronghold - the other way.

"I am banking on ... the fact that voter disgust in the status quo of Washington will transfer to the 5th District," said the 41-year-old Stewart, who has previously run unsuccessfully for public office, most recently taking a stab in 2000 for a congressional seat in Chicago's northern suburbs.[171] 


Medill Reports Chicago (01/21/09) Reporter Alex Keefe discovered a silver lining in a congested five-way Green Party Fifth Congressional District March 3, 2009 "But having Greens face off against each other in a primary election could hurt the party, said Dick Simpson, head of the political science department at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

     “It is very odd that the Green Party would be having so many candidates,” Simpson said. “You would think that they would agree on who would be their best candidate.”

     Still, (Matt) Reichel said the upcoming primary contest will only do good for the Greens. “By drawing people into this primary process, I think it draws attention to the party,” he said. “Because if, on that primary day, our vote tally is in the thousands—if [it’s] comparable to what the Democratic vote tallies are—all of the sudden, we’re taken seriously in the general election.”

     Candidate Deb Gordils unsuccessfully ran as a Green for Chicago Ald. Dick Mell’s 33rd Ward seat in 2003. She’s registered as a Green Party candidate once again for the upcoming primary.

     Also running for the Green Party spot on the April 7th ballot are Alan Auguston and Mark Arnold Fredrickson, both of Chicago; and Simon Ribeiro, of Evanston. [172]


The Chicago Reader (01/21/09) blogging columnist Ben Joravsky positions Democratic candidate County Board member Michael Quigley reports on Quigley's expensive family trip to President Obama's Inaugural which left them watching the festivities from the cozy confines of a Georgetown bistro "In many ways, Quigley's experience at the inauguration was symbolic of his standing in the March 3 Democratic primary to replace Rahm Emanuel as congressman of the Fifth District. Of all the elected officials in the race, Quigley is the most obvious reformer. His independent positions on taxes and spending make him the least likely to be supported by Mayor Daley, House speaker Michael Madigan, 36th Ward alderman William Banks or any other leaders of the machine.[173]


The Huffington Post (01/21/09) Internet web log (blog) reports that "Twenty-six candidates have registered to run for the congressional seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel.

     The weeklong filing period to appear on the ballot ended Monday. The hopefuls for Emanuel's seat include 15 Democrats, six Republicans, and five Green Party members."[174] (01/20/09) Internet web log (blog) reports that "The day after filing concluded for the special election, we've got the first sign of things getting ugly in the Fifth Congressional District.

     Last night on Fox Chicago's nightly newscast, Dane Placko reported on a poll apparently conducted by Sara Feigenholtz's campaign that included negative message-testing against opponents."[175] [176]

(The Service Employees International Union SEIU sponsors the Internet web site) (01/20/09) Internet web log (blog) reports that "the Democrat who wins the primary will be heavily favored in the district, which stretches from the shores of Lake Michigan to the suburbs around O'Hare Airport. Barack Obama won nearly three in four votes in the district."[177]


The Chicagoist (01/20/09) Internet web log (blog) reports "Monday was the deadline for candidates to file paperwork to the Illinois State Board of Elections to run for Rahm Emanuel's seat in the 5th congressional district. There are 26 candidates now registered to compete in the March 6 primaries. Candidates who plan to run as an independent or with a non-established party in the April 7 general election must file by January 27. There are 15 Democrats, six Republicans and five Green Party candidates. [178] 


The Illinois Green Party (01/19/09) reports that CHICAGO - Five candidates will compete for the Green Party nomination in the

5th Congressional District Special Primary on March 3...Candidates include Alan Augustson, who ran for the seat as a Green in 2008;

Mark Arnold Fredrickson, who ran against Emanuel in the 2004 Democratic Primary; Deb Gordils, who ran against Alderman Dick Mell (33rd Ward) in 2003; Matt Reichel, who is making his first run for public office; and Simon Ribeiro, also making his first run for office.

     The Illinois Green Party became an "established" political party following the 2006 election, when gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney received more than 10% of the vote. As a result, Green Party candidates at all levels can collect fewer signatures to get on the ballot, and Green Party candidates compete in primaries.[179]


The Chicago Reader (01/20/09) 'Clout City' blogger Mick Dumke lists all twenty-six Fifth Congressional District candidates from three established political parties. "As of this morning, 26 people have filed petitions with the state board of elections to get on the ballot for the March 3(rd) primaries in the Fifth Congressional District." [180]


The Chicago Tribune (01/20/09) columnist David Greising reflects on on University of Chicago economist Charles Wheelan's first bid for elective office "No print reporters and just two TV cameras showed up last week when Charles Wheelan stood before the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and announced he is running to fill Rahm Emanuel's seat in Congress. The TV crews never aired an inch of what they shot. But Wheelan is not worried. He is just optimistic enough, or naive enough, to believe ideas matter, even in a congressional race in Chicago.[181]


The Associated Press (01/20/09) (AP) — Twenty-six candidates have registered to run for the congressional seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel.

     The weeklong filing period to appear on the ballot ended Monday. The hopefuls for Emanuel's seat include 15 Democrats, six Republicans, and five Green Party members.

     Among them are Cook County commissioners, Chicago aldermen, and state representatives.

     A March 3 primary will narrow the field before the April 7 special election.

     Emanuel formally resigned Jan. 2 from the 5th Congressional District seat once held by Gov. Rod Blagojevich. The district includes portions of Chicago and the northwest suburbs. [182] 


Chicago Sun Times (01/19/09) columnist Laura Washington writes about one of the twenty six Fifth District Congressional candidates

"The mob of contenders to replace Rahm Emanuel as U.S. representative in the district's Democratic primary -- 16 aspirants by my count -- (presently twenty six candidates as of the January 19th filing deadline) is heavy on testosterone and ties (double entendre or just alliterative?).

     The "experts" already are calling Feigenholtz, a North Side legislator, a front-runner for the Democratic nomination. The diverse district spans a chunk of Chicago's North Side and extends into the west suburbs. The 14-year legislator claims a $300,000-and-counting war chest and filed 4,000 signatures on her petition for the March 3 primary. (Two other females, Democratic candidate Jan A Danatelli & Green Party candidate Debra "Deb" Leticia Gordilis join Feigenholtz as prospective March 3, 2009 candidates.) [183]


The Chicago Sun Times (01/20/09) Among those filing nominating petitions by Monday's deadline (in the Fifth Congressional District-IL Special Election) was Ald. Pat O'Connor (40th), Mayor Daley's unofficial City Council floor leader. O'Connor filed about 5,000 signatures -- nearly five times the 927 needed to get on the Democratic ballot -- in an apparent show of force designed to combat a slatemaking embarrassment on Jan. 10.

     O'Connor went into the slatemaking session saying he was close to wrapping up the Democratic Party's endorsement, but state Rep. John Fritchey (D-Chicago) got nearly three times as many weighted votes. "Some people blamed me. They said I wasn't aggressive enough," O'Connor said Monday. "It wakes you up. . . . It strengthened my resolve to make sure I was filing a large number of signatures."[184] 


Austin Cassidy's Independent Political Report (01/20/09) reports that of the twenty six Fifth District Congressional candidates two merit special mention. " First, Deb Gordils challenged an incumbent, Dick Mell, for city council in Chicago’s Ward 33 who could not be unseated in 2003.  She is Hispanic and the district has a fast-growing Hispanic constituency.  Even though she was unsuccessful, garnering 13.75% of the votes in the non-partisan two-way race, it amounted to a Pyrrhic victory for the incumbent.  An ally of his was defeated because he had to focus on his own reelection instead of focusing on electing this ally.  Two cops even tried to take pictures her as a “representative of Mell’s,” and her video recording of this led to the defeat of one of the cops (Chester Hornowski) in a race for Alderman. (Officer Hornowski has since retired to live in the Rocky Mountains.)

     Another former opponent of Rahm Emanuel in the race is Mark Arnold Fredrickson, who ran against him in the 2006 Democratic primary and got about 9% of the vote (20% of the Democratic Primary vote in 2004).  Emanuel is a Democrat of the highest order - apparent from his recent appointment by Obama and being the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaigns Committee - so Fredrickson had an uphill battle to fight with his 2006 candidacy.  Emanuel is also infamous for being a vicious partisan and relentless fighter. [185]


The State of Illinois Board of Elections (01/19/09) reports that twenty six candidates have filed to be included on the March 3rd, 2009 Primary Election ballot in the Fifth District Congressional Special Election. The field includes fifteen Democratic candidates, six Republican candidates & five Green Party candidates. (Green Party candidate & election law paralegal Mark Arnold Fredrickson has offered to assist fellow independent candidates in defending their political nominating petitions.)[186]


Chicago Sun Times (01/15/09) columnist Lynn Sweet reports on her web log (blog) that one of the biggest financial backers of the only woman running in the previous Fifth Congressional District open primary in 2002--Emily's List--has endorsed candidate State Representative Sara Feigenholtz in the March 3rd, 2009 Democratic Primary Election. "WASHINGTON, D.C. - EMILY's List, one of the nation's largest political action committees and financial resource for women candidates, today announced its endorsement of Sara Feigenholtz for Illinois's fifth congressional district.

"Rep. Sara Feigenholtz is a progressive state legislator and community leader who has made a life-long commitment to improve women's health and lower health care costs for working families," said Ellen R. Malcolm, president of EMILY's List. "Illinois needs Sara's leadership in Congress to work with President-elect Obama to create real change for our nation. EMILY's List and its members are proud to support Sara Feigenholtz in her campaign to represent Illinois's fifth congressional district."[187]


The Huffington Post (01/17/09) According to a poll conducted for his campaign by Alabama-based Anzalone Liszt Research, Mr. Quigley leads with 19%, to 11% for Ms. Feigenholtz and 8% for Mr. Fritchey. The remainder (55%) is undecided or scattered elsewhere, with a sampling error of plus or minus 4.4%. (Quigley paid for this public opinion poll & his pollsters discovered that voters support, by more than a two-to-one majority, none of the above?)[188]


The Chicago Reader  (01/15/09) columnist Ben Joravsky writes in his column entitled Taking the Fifth "I can almost guarantee that someone will challenge someone else’s petitions. In particular, look for lawyers for state rep Sara Feigenholtz to scrutinize the nominating petitions of Jan Donatelli, an airline pilot who at the moment is the only other woman in the race. As Anita Alvarez demonstrated in last year’s crowded primary for Cook County state’s attorney, it can be a major advantage to be the only woman on the ballot. As a rookie, Donatelli’s probably having enough trouble just gathering her own nominating signatures, but Feigenholtz is a savvy vet of the General Assembly with close ties to house speaker Michael Madigan, a master at bouncing nettlesome independents and third-party types off the ballot. As we’re always reminded in Chicago: politics ain’t beanbag."[189]


Illinois State Board of Elections (01/13/09) Two individuals have requested copies of all four of the (01/12/09) filed Democratic Party candidates' political nominating petitions--Jessica Papp who resides at 112 South Maple Avenue-B2 in Oak Park, IL 60302 Telephone number: (708) 358-0571 & Timothy Czarnecki who resides at 2245 West Charleston Street in Chicago, IL 60647 Telephone number: (773) 252-7116. (Those who file challenges to political nominating petitions customarily engage the services of apparently unaffiliated third parties prior to lodging such challenges.)[190]


Chicago Sun Times (01/14/09) Columnist Carol Marin writes about the Regular Democratic Organization Zam Zam Banquet Hall slate-making session "committeemen/ward bosses know only one thing about managing elections. It's called "Let's Make a Deal...By the Jan. 19 petition-filing deadline, we'll know everyone who's in. And by Jan. 31, we'll know who's got money enough to pull this congressional rabbit out of a hat. But don't look for this to be an election about national issues. Not now[191].


Crain's Chicago Business (01/12/09) Columnist Greg Hinz wrote "(Former Fifth District Congressional candidate) Mr. Schulter...says he dropped out because he concluded...that he couldn't raise the $$$.  He still insists he and Mr. Fritchey have no deal (concerning reports that an exchange was proposed that would have invited Alderman Schulter's support for State Representative Fritchey's bid for Fifth District Congress traded for Representative Fritchey supporting Alderman Schulter's candidate as a replacement for Fritchey were the latter to have been elected to Fifth District Congress), but (Shulter) laughed when I (Hinz) suggested we'd talk after the congressional election about which 47th Ward resident will get the seat[192].


The Chicago Tribune (01/12/09) Four Democrats today formally joined the field for the March 3 special primary to replace Rahm Emanuel in Congress. Dozens of local politicians have expressed interest in the opening. At the start of candidate filing today, the four who first submitted signature petitions to get on the ballot were state Rep. John Fritchey (D-Chicago), state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago), former federal transportation security official Justin Oberman and University of Chicago lecturer Charles Wheelan.

A lottery will determine who gets the top ballot spot[193].



The Chicago Sun Times (01/11/09) reported that "it’s every man or woman for himself or herself for the next 50 days, in this abbreviated primary election likely to determine who will represent Emanuel’s district in Congress. Emanuel has given up his seat to become President-elect Barack Obama’s chief of staff[194].


The Chicago Tribune (01/11/09) reported that Fifth District Regular Democratic Ward Committeeman & State Sen. James DeLeo (D-Chicago) quickly called for the endorsement session, ostensibly to try to winnow a growing field of candidates. But many committeemen did not support any candidate, instead calling for no endorsement in the March 3 special primary election and welcoming all comers."[195]. State Representative John Fritchey (D-Chicago) came just short of the majority needed to claim the endorsement (when aldermen aligned with former Congressional candidate Tom Allen swung their support to Fritchey (Ward Committeeman P.J. "Patty" Cullerton (38th), State Representative Joseph Lyons (45th) & Fritchey's "shirt-tale" relative by marriage--Alderman J.P. "Pastries" Banks (36th))


The Chicago Tribune (01/09/09) columnist John Kass says "Now that (President-elect Obama Chief of Staff Rahm) Emanuel is working to help Obama bring reform to the nation, 5th Congressional District candidates will eagerly rub up against (State Senator & Fifth Congressional District Regular Democratic Committeeman James) "Jimmy" DeLeo, and the lucky one will get a kiss on the cheek. DeLeo is having a big meet soon at the Zam Zam Banquet Hall, and the neighborhood will be awash in the sound of puckering[196].


Sun-Times says Daley won't endorse early on (1/7/09)

"I'm not endorsing anyone," Daley said. "We don't even know who the candidates are as yet. We'll see what happens."


The Washington Post says the race is wide open, but a Dem will win in April (1/6/09)

The Fifth District is a heavily Democratic one, and the primary will select the hands-down front-runner for the April 7 balloting.

Those announcing or expressing interest in the seat include three state representatives, two powerful city councilmen, a former homeland security official, a county commissioner, a doctor, a nightclub owner and a former pilot.


Greg Hinz at Crain's muses about the Machine (1/5/09)

A big, big field of a dozen or more is expected...The real question, though, is whether the regular Democratic organization, a.k.a. the Machine, will consolidate behind one candididate or another.  One good source says Chicago Aldermen Pat O'Connor (40th) and Tom Allen (38th), both potential candidates, are to meet soon to see if they can work things out.


MyDD has a critique of the contenders' websites (1/3/09)

Mike Quigley and Sara Feigenholtz are established political brands in the 5th Congressional District.  They don't have to have detailed policy proposals to set themselves apart from the rest of the field.  Many Democratic voters already have formed impressions of them, and that will drive their campaigns. But these newcomers, many who [sic] have the background to drive detailed policy proposals, have neither established political brands or an expansive base of support in the district. They pretty much have to get their hands dirty -- or, rather, their websites filled -- with policy positions that seek to differentiate their candidacy from the others. And they haven't.


The Hill calls Feigenholtz, Quigley, and Oberman early leaders (1/2/09)

By some counts, there are as many as 18 people who are at least considering a run, but State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley and former Transportation Security Administration official Justin Oberman appear to be the three leading candidates.


Crain's calls Feigenholtz and Quigley the financial front-runners (12/30/08)

Mr. Quigley expects to have raised more than $100,000 by yearend, while Ms. Feigenholtz — who has well-connected Chicago trial lawyer Joseph Power and lobbyist Gila Bronner heading her finance committee — cleared that hurdle weeks ago, according to her campaign manager, Michael Rendina. Ms. Feigenholtz and Mr. Quigley, both Chicago Democrats, have plucked battle-tested local campaign talent from Team Obama, while most of the other candidates are still getting organized.


Politico says Feigenholtz and Quigley are leading contenders (12/29/08)


The Sun-Times' Lynn Sweet on Emanuel's $1.7m warchest and likely candidates (12/29/08)

Eleven people have already filed papers with the Federal Election Commission declaring they are possible candidates


Congressional Quarterly's analysis (via Yahoo) (12/24/08)

Outsider credentials might seem like a plus in the special election contest in Illinois' 5th Congressional District. But then there is history. Still, the district on Chicago's North Side has a constituency that could be open to hopefuls who wrap themselves in the theme of political change.


Nadig Newspaper's Russ Stewart's early analysis.  (11/12/08)

The big three are Fritchey, Allen and Schulter, with an edge to Fritchey.


About the District


This largely white, blue-collar district is heavily Democratic. John Kerry got 67 percent of the vote in 2004 and Emanuel won with 74 percent of the vote in November, according to The Hill. The district has a Cook Partisan Voting Index score of D +18.


The congressional district currently spans much of the North Side of City of Chicago from Lake Michigan into the western suburbs. It includes Schiller Park, Franklin Park, River Grove, Elmwood Park, Northlake, and Melrose Park. Wrigley Field is located in this district, along with the Chicago neighborhoods of Lakeview, Uptown, and Lincoln Park.


Despite its recent historical preference for Democrats the district was represented by a Republican for two years after Dan Rostenkowski lost his seat because of the Congressional Post Office Scandal. On a national level the scandal helped prompt the Republican Revolution of 1994.


The district was created as part of the 28th United States Congress, which first met on March 4, 1843; it was initially represented by Stephen A. Douglas, whose Kansas-Nebraska Act prompted the creation of the Republican Party. As of the most recent redistricting it includes part of Cook County, and was represented by Democrat Rahm Emanuel from January 2003 until January 2009. Scheduling Software

Fashion Trends Blog


External links


District profile from the U.S. Census Bureau

The Sun-Times' Lynn Sweet on the Special Election

District page on Wikipedia





District Map






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