Huffpost Chicago

Mike Quigley Wins Democratic Primary To Replace Rahm Emanuel In Congress

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UPDATE 11:00 P.M.

Though poised to follow Rahm Emanuel, Rod Blagojevich and Dan Rostenkowski as the Congressman from Illinois' Fifth District, Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley cast his primary victory as an affirmation of the District's hunger for reform.

"This is really the first chance the voters have had to say, 'Enough is enough, Quigley said in his victory address. "'We're voting for change and reform.'"

Watch:

Quigley's convincing victory included wins in a number of wards where he was opposed by the resident alderman, the Sun-Times reports:

Quigley won his own ward, the Wrigleyville-based 44th Ward. He also won Ald. Gene Schulter's 47th Ward, even though Schulter endorsed Fritchey. Quigley won the far Northwest Side's 41st Ward, even though Committeewoman Mary O'Connor endorsed O'Connor. Quigley won the 1st Ward, where Ald. Manny Flores endorsed Fritchey. Quigley also won the 43rd Ward, the 32nd Ward and the 35th Ward.

Quigley and his wife, Barbara, at his victory party (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

From the AP:

Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley bested 11 other Democrats to win his party's nomination Tuesday in a special primary to fill the seat of former U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel, who left Congress to be President Barack Obama's chief of staff.

Quigley, who has been a Cook County commissioner since 1998, campaigned as a reformer and fiscal watchdog in the heavily Democratic district that includes Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs.

His reputation for taking on establishment Democrats in Cook County earned him the endorsements of both the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times.

With 93 percent of precincts reporting, Quigley led the field with 11,441 or 22.2 percent of the vote. Quigley becomes the immediate favorite in the April 7 special election against GOP and Green Party candidates.

The winner of that election will finish out the two-year term Emanuel won in November before he resigned.

Tuesday's primary pitted a dozen Democrats against each other, including Quigley, longtime Chicago Alderman Patrick O'Connor and state Reps. Sara Feigenholtz and John Fritchey.

Fritchey had 9,228 or 17.9 percent of the vote and Feigenholtz had 8,779 or 17 percent of the vote with 93 percent of precincts reporting. O'Connor was in 4th place with 6,017 or 11.7 percent.

The race also included six Republicans and five Green Party candidates in a district that stretches from Chicago's wealthy North Side lakefront to ethnic enclaves on the northwest side and neighboring Cook County suburbs.

On the Republican side, Rosanna Pulido led the pack with 901 votes or 25 percent with 93 percent of precincts reporting. Pulido is director of the Illinois Minuteman Project, part of a national volunteer civilian border patrol group that wants to stem illegal immigration.

The Green Party leader was Mathew Reichel with 161 votes, or 34.5 percent with 93 percent of precincts reporting.

Voter turnout was low in the 578 precincts of the district. The 5th Congressional District has 348,678 registered voters in the city of Chicago and Cook County suburbs.

"It's always low in a special primary," said Jim Allen, a spokesman for the Chicago Board of Elections. "There's a short amount of time to get to know the candidates. There's not as much enthusiasm or knowledge as you'd have with a presidential or gubernatorial election where there are months of buildup or scrutiny."

The race to the Tuesday's special primary was more like a sprint. Candidates had just two months to campaign and will have another month before the April 7 special election that will decide the district's next representative.

Voting traffic at the Lakeview East Cooperative Tuesday morning was steady but it wasn't busy, poll workers said.

Don Doughman said he voted for Quigley in part because of what he considered a barrage of negative campaign ads by Feigenholtz.

"I always vote for Sara, but we want change and that's not the way to do it," said Doughman, a 62-year-old sales representative for a downtown Chicago business.

Doughman also liked that Quigley drew support from Cook County politicians he considered reform-minded, including Quigley's fellow commissioner, Forrest Claypool.

"We need some cleaning up in this county," he said.

But it didn't take Ken Bellis, 44, long to cast his vote for Feigenholtz.

The 12-year district resident, who had voted for Emanuel, had previously voted for Feigenholtz as a state representative because of her support for gay rights and issues affecting people with disabilities.

Martin Plesha emerged from the polls with a one-word answer for how he voted: "Republican."

The 47-year-old, who runs a program business at Wrigley, said he always comes out for elections, even primaries. He said he thought it was important to get out the Republican vote in the Democratic stronghold.

The largely white district of Poles, Germans and Irish with a sizable Hispanic population has been Emanuel's since 2002. The district has voted overwhelmingly Democratic in past elections for Emanuel. It's the same seat once held by Blagojevich and former House Ways and Means Chairman Dan Rostenkowski.

Labor lawyer Tom Geoghegan, who appeared to finish seventh in his longshot bid, sent the following email to supporters:

Dear Friend,

I want to thank you for all your help and support. Unfortunately, we came up short tonight, but that was not a reflection on your efforts.

Two months ago, I launched this campaign because I was greatly concerned with the growing economic contraction and the impact it was having on working Americans. I wanted, as my former law-partner Leon Depres said, simply to make politics my law practice.

I am astounded at what we've accomplished in just two short months. We raised over $325,000, put together an operation that reached thousands with phone calls and knocked doors. You made a relatively unknown labor lawyer a contender.

Most importantly, we helped influence the political debate of this country. We pushed Democrats to understand we don't need to save Social Security, we need to raise it to a livable public pension. We can have a single-payer universal health care system. We must stop the bailouts, nationalize insolvent institutions, and cut interest on credit cards to begin getting people out of debt.

It is time for a new progressivism and I'm determined to help bring it about. So, I thank you once again for all your help and support. This isn't an end, it's just a beginning.

Thank you,

Tom

Writing in The Nation, John Nichols suggested that "while [Geoghegan] may not have prevailed in the weighing of votes, his campaign produced proposals that ought not be counted out," citing his plan to rework New Deal programs like social security as an example.

UPDATE 9:50 P.M.

Quigley has claimed victory in an address to supporters at his victory party in Wrigleyville. He credited his consistent reform message in an interview with the Tribune:

"After all the recent embarrassments, this was first chance that the voters had to voice their desire for change and they spoke loud and clear," Quigley told the Tribune.
"They came through for me, and now I have to come through for them."

The AP has updated its story:

Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley has bested a field of 11 other Democrats in a special primary election to fill the seat of former U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel, who left Congress to be President Barack Obama's chief of staff.

Quigley campaigned as a reformer and fiscal watchdog in the heavily Democratic district. A Cook County commissioner since 1998, Quigley's reputation for taking on establishment Democrats earned him the endorsements of both the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times.

With 92 percent of precincts reporting Tuesday, Quigley led the field with 11,258 or 22.1 percent of the vote.

The Democratic nominee is the immediate favorite in the April 7 special election to finish out the two-year term Emanuel won in November.

Quigley won despite being outspent nearly 5-1, Lynn Sweet notes:

Quigley had a $550,000 warchest while his main rivals raised about $3 million, according to Quigley campaign manager Tom Bowen.

Read all of Quigley's Huffington Post blogs-- which have focused on reforming Cook County-- here.

UPDATE 9:30 P.M.

With 93% of precincts reporting, the AP has called the race for Quigley:

Quigley, Mike 11,415 22%
Fritchey, John 9,209 18%
Feigenholtz, Sara 8,730 17%
O'Connor, Patrick 6,013 12%
Forys, Victor 5,752 11%
Wheelan, Charles 3,517 7%
Geoghegan, Tom 3,135 6%
Bryar, Paul 1,032 2%
Donatelli, Jan 829 2%
Annunzio, Frank 699 1%
Capparelli, Cary 669 1%
Monteagudo, Carlos 485 1%

Both Fritchey and Feigenholtz have now called Quigley to conceded. Below is a photo of Feigenholtz's concession speech from a HuffPost reader in attendance:

Green candidates Matt Reichel and Deb Gordils are neck-and-neck, with Reichel leading 161-147 with 93% of precincts reporting.

UPDATE 8:53 P.M. CT

Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley is on the cusp of succeeding Rahm Emanuel as the Congressman from the Fifth District of Illinois. With 83% of the vote counted, Quigley is holding strong to a nearly 2,000 vote lead. His total 10,390 outpaces State Reps. John Fritchey (8,079) and Sara Feigenholtz (7,984).

Fritchey has called Quigley to concede, according to reports in Capitol Fax and the Tribune.

In the Republican primary, Rosanna Pulido, the founder of the Illinois Minuteman Project is outpacing businessman Tom Hanson 821-713.

See City vote totals here.

See County vote totals here.

AP is tabulating the results here.

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Voters trickled into polls Tuesday to choose among nearly two dozen candidates in a special primary election to determine who will get the chance to replace former U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel.

Election officials said no problems were reported at the district's 578 precincts and voter turnout was expected to be low.

"It's always low in a special primary," said Jim Allen, a spokesman for the Chicago Board of Elections. "There's a short amount of time to get to know the candidates. There's not as much enthusiasm or knowledge as you'd have with a presidential or gubernatorial election where there are months of buildup or scrutiny."

Candidates had just two months to campaign for the primary and will have another month before the April 7 special election that will decide the next representative from the strong Democratic district that's home to the Chicago Cubs' Wrigley Field.

The primary pits a dozen Democrats against each other, including politicians from Cook County like Commissioner Mike Quigley and longtime Chicago Alderman Patrick O'Connor to state Reps. Sara Feigenholtz and John Fritchey.

Quigley garnered endorsements from the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times.

The race also includes six Republicans and five Green Party candidates in a district that stretches from Chicago's wealthy North Side lakefront to ethnic enclaves on the northwest side and neighboring Cook County suburbs.

Voting traffic at the Lakeview East Cooperative Tuesday morning was steady, it wasn't busy, poll workers said.

It didn't take Ken Bellis, 44, long to cast his vote for Feigenholtz.

The 12-year district resident, who had voted for Emanuel, had previously voted for Feigenholtz as a state representative because of her support for gay rights and issues affecting people with disabilities.

"I'm hoping she'll take those issues with her to Washington because I know she is going to win today," said Bellis, who works at a nonprofit in Chicago for adults with developmental disabilities.

Martin Plesha emerged from the polls with a one-word answer for how he voted: "Republican."

The 47-year-old, who runs a program business at Wrigley, said he always comes out for elections, even primaries. He said he thought it was important to get out the Republican vote in the Democratic stronghold.

He cast his ballot for Gregory Bedell because he felt he was "a little bit more moderate," noting some of the other Republicans in the race were too liberal for him.

The 23 candidates are vying for the chance to finish out the two-year term Emanuel won in November and then resigned to become President Barack Obama's chief of staff.

The largely white district of Poles, Germans and Irish with a sizable Hispanic population has been Emanuel's since 2002. The district has voted overwhelmingly Democratic in past elections for Emanuel. It's the same seat once held by ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich and former House Ways and Means Chairman Dan Rostenkowski.

Whoever wins, candidates are counting on having some advantage in Washington _ although not seniority _ coming from Emanuel's old district in the home city of the president.

Associated Press writers Sarah Ryan Rafi and Sophia Tareen contributed to this report.