Early voting begins today for 5th District seat

Mon. March 16, 2009 12:00 AM by Kevin Wayne

Chicago, IL - Early voting begins this morning for a replacement for Rahm Emanuel in the 5th Congressional District.

The 5th district, which leans heavily Democratic, covers most of Chicago's North Side and comprises the majority of the city's LGBT voters.

Candidates include Democratic Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley, Green Party anti-war activist Matt Reichel and Republican Rosanna Pulido.

Quigley, 50, is running as a reformer and considered the front-runner for the LGBT vote. Quigley grew up in Carol Stream and started his political career in Chicago working as an aide to Ald. Bernard Hansen (44th) while studying for his master's degree in public policy from the University of Chicago. In 2003, he passed an ordinance creating the Cook County Domestic Partnership Registry and he continues to work with a coalition of LGBT advocates.

Pulido is a life-long resident of Chicago's 5th District, and believes in strong conservative values. She began her political activism as an organizer for the National Rifle Association and is a founding member of the Chicago Minutemen Project immigration watchdog group. She is pro-life saying on her website "abortion hurts women." Pulido supports "traditional family values" and opposes same-sex marriage.

Reichel, 27, says he offers an "innovative perspective that won't be offered by the mainstream politicians seeking this office." He is a career activist and opposes the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Quigley and Reichel, have both publicly expressed support for LGBT rights, including same-sex marriage.

Illinois voters can cast ballots before the April 7 election at designated locations through April 2, according to the Web site for the Cook County clerk's office.

No reason is needed to cast early ballots in person, but voters must present valid photo identification to receive an application form, according to the Web site.

ChicagoBreakingNews.com contributed to this report.