Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Replacement For Rahm Emanuel?

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Obama's selection of Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff had one silver lining: if removed him from the line of succession to the speaker's chair and, in fact, got him out of Congress altogether. Forget that he may (or may not) do far more damage in the Executive Branch; that will be up to Obama. Unfortunately there have been persistent rumors from Chicago that Emanuel's strategy is to find a shill to run for his seat, someone willing to step down when Emanuel's service in the White House is no longer needed. His ex-chief of staff, John Borovicka, has been mentioned.

But Borovicka is hardly the only contestant in a race that could well be determined by the Daley Machine. Remember, it was the Daley Machine that first gave the seat to Emanuel, helping him beat out a progressive state legislator, Nancy Kaszak. The problem, though, is that there are so many candidates interested that it will be difficult for any bloc to get behind anyone... so far.

Although Cook County Commissioner Forrest Claypool has already dropped out of the race, other candidates still running include half a dozen aldermen-- Margaret Laurino, Manuel Flores, Ariel Reboyras, Tom Tunney (Chicago's only openly gay aldermen), Tom Allen, Eugene Schulter, and Daley's City Council leader, Patrick O'Connor and an ex-alderman Edwin Eisendrath. Then there's Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioner Cynthia Santos, Emanuel protege and Illinois Veterans Affairs Director Tammy Duckworth (who is also up for Obama's Senate seat and is being considered for the Secretary of Veterans' Affairs, multimillionaire Hyatt Hotel heir J.B. Pritzker, and previous Emanuel challenger Peter Dagher. AND... a bunch of state reps: John Fritchey, John D'Amico, Sara Feigenholtz and Deborah Mell (who's actually a state Rep-elect, having just won her seat; she's also very connected in Machine politics, the daughter of powerful Alderman Dick Mell and is the sister-in-law of corrupt Governor Blagojevich, who held the seat before Emanuel. She's also an open lesbian.)

Who's going to sort that mess out? (And there are others.) Well, there are several progressive groups working in IL-05, like DFA, ADA and PDA, and it's important they get behind one candidate and work together to thwart Emanuel's scheme. This morning I got a note from one, 12th district State Rep Sara Feigenholtz, who has a sterling reputation as a hard-working progressive. Here's the body of the letter:
As you know, Congressman Rahm Emanuel will be resigning from the U.S. House of Representatives to serve in the Obama administration. I believe this creates an opportunity for another progressive thinker, such as myself, to lead the 5th District.
 
As a lifelong resident of the 5th District, I believe I am the right candidate at the right time to represent this community honestly and effectively. Our country now faces some of the toughest challenges in a generation, but I am ready to take on this responsibility and be a leading advocate for change in Washington.

As a result, I have established a diverse committee to explore this exciting opportunity. We have set a number of fund-raising deadlines, the first of which is tomorrow evening. By contributing online to my exploratory effort, you can help me reach this critical benchmark.

To let our dreams of a better tomorrow end with the November 4th election would be an affront to those very principles Americans were hoping to reclaim this year. By making a contribution to my exploratory effort, you will be investing in a new direction for our country and our community.

Her platform looks good, especially on women's issues and GLBT issues and she was one of three members of the Illinois legislature to sponsor a bill to impeach Bush in 2006. Her responses to the Vote Smart questionnaire are excellent across a wide range of issues.

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6 Comments:

At 6:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Deborah Mell is not running - see Carol Marin's Sun-Times blog from yesterday

 
At 4:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sara feigenholtz is WONDERFUL! She's probably the strongest advocate for gay rights in the General Assembly and she's very independent. Hopefully she can beat all the good ole boys running!

 
At 7:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike Quigley running for congress is a horrible joke to play on the voters of the 5th district.

As evidenced by his lack of actual accomplishments, Quigley has done nothing with his commissioner’s seat except get his name in the media.

To paraphrase Quigley’s new campaign tagline: “Others talk change. Quigley delivers [press releases and white papers].”

He is an ineffectual self-promoter whose proposals go nowhere. This has less to do with their merit and more to do with of ego and antagonistic-cum-double-dealing-operating-style.

As former Sheriff Michael Sheahan once said, “the only thing Quigley is good at running is his mouth.”

The last thing Chicago or Illinois needs is to send another egomaniac backbencher to Congress.

 
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