03/17/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Sun-Times Endorses Quigley In Emanuel Replacement Race

The Chicago Sun-Times became the first major paper to endorse a candidate in the crowded 5th Congressional District race, backing Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley to replace Rahm Emanuel in the U.S. House of Representatives.

In an editorial published Saturday, the paper described the ballot as "filled with impressive and thoughtful candidates" but felt that Quigley "stood above the rest."

Quigley, 50, is that rare candidate who promises reform -- and delivers.

He's the real deal.

He has proved himself at the County Board and deserves a shot at proving himself in Congress.

The paper hailed Quigley as a true reformer whose work on the County Board, where he is one of the strongest critics of President Todd Stroger, proves his political independence and fiscal and environmental policy chops.

He has been a constant advocate for fiscal responsibility and a watchdog against waste and corruption.

Just last week, Quigley was among the leaders who fought successfully against a disastrous plan by Cook County Board President Todd Stroger to borrow hundreds of millions of dollars -- some of it, stunningly, meant for day-to-day government operations. Stroger wanted to further burden taxpayers, but Quigley nixed his plans.

Quigley's "lack of political charm" was viewed as an asset by the Sun-Times:

He doesn't exactly light up a room. Or even smile much.

He is what he is, a scrappy policy wonk who actually cares about the stuff he fights for.

The paper also saw Mayor Daley's lack of affection for Quigley as a selling point, lauding him as the sort of dissenting voice who could help keep the mushrooming Olympics budget in check should Chicago be awarded the 2016 Games.

The Sun-Times singled out three other candidates for praise. State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz was called "a passionate expert in health care," labor lawyer and writer Tom Geoghegan was celebrated for a career dedicated to "fighting for the little guy," and University of Chicago lecturer Charles Wheelan was hailed for his "razor-sharp mind." Conspicuously unmentioned was State Rep. John Fritchey, widely considered a frontrunner in the race.