Voters go to the polls Tuesday

April 6, 2009 8:50:02 PM PDT
Tuesday is Election Day across the Chicago Area. City and county jobs are up for grabs and voters will be asked to approved taxes too.

It's actually two elections in one day -- a special election for Illinois' 5th Congressional District, the seat vacated by Rahm Emanuel so he could become the White House Chief of Staff -- and a consolidated election.

Voters will be choosing candidates, and in this troubled economy, answering tough questions about taxes.

Mike Quigley beat out 11 other Democrats to win his party's nomination. And as a Democrat, Cook County commissioner Mike Quigley is the odds-on favorite to replace Rahm Emanuel in Congress.

But voter turnout in the primary was very low -- only 17 percent -- leaving Republican Rosanna Pulido and Green Party candidate Matt Reichel with the hopes of pulling off an upset.

Quigley, fighting against voter apathy, has raised about $600,000 dollars and the other two haven't even come close.

Pulido, founder of the Illinois minuteman, an anti-illegal immigration group, says the national Republican Party hasn't given her a dime.

Other contested elections on Tuesday include many races in the suburbs for mayor or village president.

Des Plaines, Evanston and Niles are suburbs with lively contests for mayor because no incumbent is on the ballot.

Also, voters will be deciding several referendum issues.

Many school districts are asking for property tax increases, which could be a tough sell given that property values are falling.

And in an non-binding advisory referendum, some cook county residents will be asked if the one percentage point sales tax increase should continue to be collected.

Polls will open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

Palatine election

In Palatine, voters will choose a mayor and vote on whether to consider seceding from Cook County because of last year's sales tax hike.

Incumbent Rita Mullins has been mayor of palatine for 20 years. Tuesday three other candidates will try to unseat her.

Mullens is seeking her sixth term. Many have called her the voice of the suburbs, someone who is very visual and vocal on suburban issues. Mullens herself admits this is probably her toughest race. This is the first time that she faces more than one opponent.

Rita Mullens is the mayor as long as Mayor Richard Daley has been mayor of Chicago. That's 20 years. And at 63 years old, Mullens says she's not about to retire, unless the voters decide it's time for her to go.

"I'm still young enough to be mayor. I still love it enough. There's still things I want to accomplish," said Mullens.

Former Chicago Bear and lifelong Palatine resident Jim Schwantz is trying to convince voters that he's the right person for the job, despite a lack of political experience.

"I feel like I have a pulse of what goes on throughout the town and again, with my background being team sports, I'm all about communication and accountability and teamwork and leadership. I feel those are very nice, nice attributes to bring to village politics," said Jim Schwantz, Mayoral candidate.

Also in the race is the former village trustee. He accused Mullens of spending too much time talking about issues such as is he seeding from Cook County. She brought up the issue after they raised the sales tax by 1 percent.

"I don't want to create enemies with every government body we have to deal with. The village has created enemies in Cook County in which they're sort of doing again and it's impractical to even talk about leaving Cook County. We can't afford it," said

Whether there are three counties made out of what is suburban Cook County, North, Central and South, or we are absorbed into other counties, time will tell.

Voters as well as residents in Barrington and Hanover Townships are all being asked to vote in an advisory referendum to consider separating from Cook County. Another town to watch is Des Plaines. There are six city offices that are up for grabs there, including the mayor.

Voters head to polls in 5th Congress. District

Voters in the 5th Congressional District head to the polls on Tuesday for a special election to fill Rahm Emanuel's vacated seat in the U.S. Congress.

Democrat Mike Quigley is facing Republican Rosanna Pulido and Green Party candidate Matt Reichel.

Quigley is running on a government reform platform. Immigration issues, veterans' and senior citizen rights are among the signature issues in Pulido's campaign.

Reichel is pushing for the U.S. to pull out of both wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and invest that money in alternative energy.


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