Voters in 5th District head to the polls Tuesday

Mon. April 6, 2009 12:00 AM by Kevin Wayne

Tribune: Mike Quigley poised for a win

Chicago, IL - Voters prepare to head to the polls Tuesday for a special general election to determine 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. The Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times both report Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley is poised for a win.

Republicans have won the seat from time to time. Republican Michael Patrick Flanagan won it in 1994 before that the last Republican to win the 5th District seat was in 1930.

On the ballot with Quigley are Rosanna Pulido and Green Party candidate Matt Reichel.

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.

The Tribune reports Pulido does not have the wholesale backing of her party, noting that one ward committeeman is encouraging Republican voters to write in "Abraham Lincoln" as a protest against her.

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.

According to the Sun-Times, Quigley has raised about $600,000 since launching his bid for Congress and defeating 11 other Democrats in the March 3 primary. Pulido said she's raised about $16,000 for her campaign; Reichel said he's raised about $2,000. In last month's primary, Quigley tripled the number of votes of all six Republican challengers combined.

Tuesday's winner will replace Emanuel in Congress. Emanuel left his congressional seat after six years to become White House chief of staff for President Barack Obama.