Democrat Quigley wins in 5th District

April 7, 2009 9:02:17 PM PDT
Democrat Mike Quigley, a reform-minded Cook County commissioner, on Tuesday claimed the high-profile Illinois congressional seat that Rahm Emanuel gave up to be President Barack Obama's chief of staff.The 5th Congressional District is a Democratic stronghold stretching from Chicago's North Side lakefront to the Northwest neighborhoods and neighboring Cook County suburbs.

"But less this election be a sea of change. A change for a whole new season of where we can go in Chicago, Cook County and Illinois," said Quigley said on Tuesday night.

Quigley's huge victory margin is tempered by the unofficial record low turnout in the special election. Only about 40,000 of the 320,000 registered voters in the district cast ballots, a reality not lost on distant second place finisher Republican Rosanna Pulido.

"When voter turnout is so low, people don't have the right to complain if they don't like the government they have. So they just have to keep that in the forefront," said Rosanna Pulido, congressional candidate.

The Chicago Board of Elections spent over $3 million to conduct the special primary and general elections to replace Rahm Emmanuel who resigned the 5th District seat to become President Barack Obama's chief of staff. The turnout for the primary was only slightly better than Tuesday night.

"For the primary election we spent almost $30 a vote. That number's going to climb as the vote decreases in this election," said Langdon Neal, Chicago Board of Elections Chairman.

Despite the low turnout in both elections, Quigley, the 50-year-old Cook County Commissioner, insisted his victory was a mandate. And the self-described "reformer" was not sold on the idea that the special election system needs to be changed.

"I think first we should add more special elections and while we do that we need to have find a way to make them work where they're not so costly and we get maximum voter participation," said Quigley.

Suburban races

Many suburban communities voted in mayoral races on Tuesday. And there is at least one upset to report.

In Palatine, Rita Mullins has been mayor for the last 20 years. But she will not get another term.

Mullins finished third in the mayoral race. The winner in Palatine is James Schwantz. Vito Manola junior finished second.

In the city of Des Plaines, first term alderman, Martin Moylan defeated three challengers for the position of mayor.

In south suburban Dolton, it appears Ronnie Lewis was elected to his first full term in office. Lewis had been acting mayor and was the late mayor, William Shaw's hand-picked successor.


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