03/01/2009 11:50 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Geoghegan: Sounds Like Reagan, Acts Like Wellstone

Election Day in the race to fill Rahm Emanuel's House seat is Tuesday, but as I expected for a special election in Chicago in March, the election buzz is somewhat muted.
I drove in last week from Washington, D.C., to help with the last minute voter turnout on behalf of the Progressive Democrats of America, who endorsed Tom Geoghegan for the seat. I drove around the district a couple times, met with our local supporters, and did several visibility stints with a banner on the street corners--including one at Wrigley Field, near the Ernie Banks statue (Wrigleyville is part of the district).
I noticed that there are large stretches of the district with no signs, despite an army of candidates. The TVs are not saturated with ads, because there's only one race going on. The public visibility is limited because it's typical Chicago winter weather.
This could potentially be a good thing. It means that surprises are possible.
Low turnouts sometimes favor committed, passionate voters. Targeted mail and phone calls are useful. Chicago TV is less useful, because most of it is wasted outside the district. And the Democratic primary is a 12-way race, which means that a low plurality could be enough to win.
The favorites are the Emily's List endorsed candidate, the candidate favored by much of the regular party apparatus, or the candidate the big newspapers backed.
But the most interesting potential Congressman--and the most useful winner for most working Americans--would be Tom Geoghegan, labor lawyer and author, who has built his campaign--and his working life, for that matter--around the issue of "economic security".
A Geoghegan victory, besides surprising everyone, would advance the cause of single-payer national health care, his key issue. It would advance the idea that pension security is worthy of discussion, that not just protecting Social Security but increasing it is the right thing to do, that good jobs with living wages are the ticket to a more prosperous economy for everyone. It would show that making union organizing easier benefits the whole country.
Tom Geoghegan is a "class" warrior, in multiple senses of the word. He's a very decent human being, with a great sense of humor (go read his books!), and he spends his time fighting for working people against great odds. He fights for the families who have been getting screwed over by greedy bankers and off-shoring global corporations and thieving Wall Street traders. His political roots reach back to Roosevelt and Reuther.
There is still time to help Tom get out the vote for Tuesday, by making calls from your house. Go to his web site and click on "make calls from home". It's easy. And in such a low turnout race, every vote counts, even more than usual
Geoghegan: rhymes with Reagan, acts like Wellstone.