IL-05 Primary Roundup #2

Three major events capped this week in Illinois' 5th Congressional District: the nominating petition process was completed, voting has begun and a whole beavy of Candidate Forums was begun.  On the Democratic side, objections to Charlie Wheelan's petitions were overruled, objections to Roger Thompson's petitions were sustained (removing Thompson from the ballot) and Pete Dagher withdrew in the face of challenges to his petitions.  Thus, the field on the Democratic side was narrowed, from 14 to 12.  I don't expect much more narrowing in the field before the primary, as voting has actually begun in this race.

One person has voted so far in this race.  Illinois has what is called "grace period voting," which allows people who missed the deadline to register to vote to simultaneously register to vote and vote at the same time:

"Grace Period Voting" is a safety net offered to those who fail to register to vote by the deadline of 28 days before the date of the primary or the date of the election. Grace Period Voting requires the voter to register and vote all at once and in person at the Election Board offices

Grace period voting ends Feb. 10.  Early voting takes place from Feb. 16 - Feb. 26.

Candidate forums have begun.  The big one took place on Sunday, where almost all the candidates participated.  This is not likely to occur again, as the campaigns are basically overwhelmed by requests.  One group has even invited candidates to three forums -- and that's just one group!  Obviously, the only campaigns that will participate in all these forums are the campaigns that don't have anything better to do with their candidate's time.  The demands by local groups are beyond ridiculous, in this respect.  Those who skip out the lesser forums can be forgiven for having a campaign plan that utilizes their candidate's time efficiently and productively.

But Sunday's forum has been widely praised.  Both Progress Illinois and Jesse Greenberg live blogged the event, WBEZ (Chicago Public Radio) offers audio of the forum, and Chicago Progressive Talk offers a downloadable podcast of the whole thing.  Video of the event, broken up for YouTube, can be found here.

Prairie State Blue had a nice write-up of the event, as well as Proviso Probe,Gapers Block and this diary on DailyKos.  Of the mainstream outlets,
CBS,NBC,ABC,WBEZ, the Chicago Tribune and the SunTimes all covered the two hour forum.  And Ben Joravsky asks whether the biggest no-show (Patrick O'Connor) was a Fox Or Wuss?

CQ considers the Early Leaders:

Based on money and name recognition, the front-runners would have to be four Democrats: State Reps. Sara Feigenholtz and John Fritchey, 40th Ward Alderman Patrick O'Connor, and Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley.

But some "outsider" candidates have familiar names, too.

Frank Annunzio, for instance, is a general field superintendent of construction at the Chicago Housing Authority, but he has the same name as his great uncle, who represented a nearby district for 13 terms. And Victor Forys, a doctor at a local health clinic, has a name that energizes the district's significant Polish community, which is eager to help elect a candidate who shares the same ancestral heritage.

Jesse Greenberg argues that the "Others" might have an opportunity:

The grumblings this week from John Fritchey and Mike Quigley over Sara Feigenholtz's questionable polling ethics has caught the attention of traditional media.  The Sun-Times reported today that Fritchey is fighting back, calling out Feigenholtz, whose name appeared on "clout lists" in an attempt to secure jobs for two women.

The latest in this sullying saga points to two interesting facets of this campaign.  First, traditional media seems less interested in covering the issues and candidates in this race, despite a crowded and talented field.  Rather, traditional media is regularly focusing on the bickering and political insidership between the leading candidates.

This has started a probably unwelcome situation for the likes of Feigenholtz, Fritchey and Quigley.  Every time traditional media comes to their campaigns for reactions to  attacks that one candidate made on the other, the ensuing stories run in contrast to the images these three are trying to put out - Feigenholtz as a progressive, and Fritchey and Quigley as good government reformers.  Instead, the constant attacks and low-balling are a reminder that Chicago-style politics is guiding this election game.

While the candidates with the most name recognition clobber each other and diminish their arguments that they are different than the Blagojeviches and Strogers of Illinois politics, candidates like Charlie Wheelan, Victor Forys and Tom Geoghegan stand in a good position to benefit.  Those three candidates are out of the political "mainstream."

Gapers Block, a venerable Chicago blog, had an interesting little piece about Google Adwords War in IL05:

So I did a search for the candidates' names to suss out who had bought which terms. And winning the Google Adwords war is...Charlie Wheelan.

Wheelan's ad comes up when you search for Sara Feigenholtz, Mike Quigley, John Fritchey, Patrick O'Connor, Rahm Emanuel, Illinois Fifth District and "Frank Annunzio," but not, uh, Charlie Wheelan.

Sara Feigenholtz is right behind him, appearing on "Patrick O'Connor,""Tom Geoghegan,""Mike Quigley" and the only result for "Charlie Wheelan."

Clout Street, the Chicago Tribune's blog on local politics, notes that the Unions [are] divided in race to replace Emanuel:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

The loyalties of the state's major labor unions are divided in the March 3 special primary to replace Rahm Emanuel in Congress, much like Just like local Democratic Party leaders who declined to unite behind a candidate.

State Rep. John Fritchey (D-Chicago) won the endorsement today of the Illinois AFL-CIO, which includes 1,500 unions with almost 1 million members.

But sources said State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) will have the support of the Service Employees International Union, a major backer of President Barack Obama and former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Sara Feigenholtz

[note: clicking on any of the campaign lit will bring up a larger version]

Sara Walk-Front Sara Walk-Back

Last Saturday, I visited all the campaign headquarters (as posted online) of the candidates in this race.  All the campaigns said that their candidates were knocking on doors, which is pretty much expected in this particular district.  On Saturday, Sara Feigenholtz's campaign was opening another campaign office, this one in the western part of the district.

I arrived at the Feigenholtz office in the middle of the afternoon, so several canvassers were returning from their turf.  A couple of volunteers also were on the phones.  It was obvious that this campaign had been operating at full steam for weeks.

Today's Capitol Fax blog included this item from Clout Street criticizing Feigenholtz for missing a 117-0 vote for an ethics reform bill in Springfield.  She was "the only legislator of either party who missed that vote." Rich is right, this is a problem of perception.  But it's not a problem for her campaign.  Running for Congress is hard work, and if you want to win, it takes a total commitment.  It should be clear that Sara Feigenholtz is totally committed.  Yes, John Fritchey is going to attend the House sessions and Mike Quigley is going to continue his County Board duties.  And their campaigns' will make the most of the contrast.  But very few voters will know the decisions these candidates made about their legislative duties -- and those who do will probably already made a decision in the race as to who they support.

Sara Polish-Front Sara Polish-Back

As I said, all the candidates are knocking on doors in this race, so I asked them, "What kind of feedback is your candidate getting from voters?"

Sara has been talking to voters from every corner of the district who are just a pink slip away from losing their jobs, losing their homes and their way of life. Voters want to know what these candidates are going to do to help them get through these tough times. They don't want candidates playing political gotcha games and finger pointing. They want to hear about solutions and I think they're impressed by Sara's record on getting things done for people who need help such as uninsured working parents and children, women who couldn't afford their own mammograms and women fighting to get equal pay for equal work.

Sara Spanish-Front Sara Spanish-Back

The campaign says that the message Feigenholtz is taking to voters is:

Sara's been fighting to help people who often don't have a voice throughout her life. Her mother was widowed while Sara was a child and took care of her and her brother while working as a community doctor. He mother provided care to those who didn't have anywhere to turn – whether it was at the hospital or at her own home. Sara learned from her that health care is a right, not a privilege. That's guided Sara throughout her life and that's why she's fought to get uninsured working parents and children access to quality, affordable health care and why she plans to fight in Washington to give all Americans the health care they need.

"Sara hears about three issues pretty consistently -- jobs, the economy and health care. And those are the issues that Sara's talking to voters about every day."

Feigenholtz returned the best numbers for Saturday's FEC deadline. The campaign reports that it picked up the endorsement of Women's Action for New Directions.

Feigenholtz has "recruited over 300 grassroots volunteers who are making calls and knocking on doors to help Sara spread her message."

There are many opportunities to help Sara. Our volunteer phone bank is up and running every day of the week and volunteers are canvassing door-to-door throughout the district everyday. We have two offices that volunteers can work out of - one's on the eastern side of the district and the other is on the western side.

Anyone interested in volunteering in their community should call Stacey at our Belmont Ave headquarters, 773-327-3792 or Greg at our Portage Park office,773-283-9580

EXTRA has a brief interview with Feigenholtz here. Jesse Greenberg has an interesting followup about the Adwords piece. You can brush up on Sara Feigenholtz's stands on the issues here. This DailyKos diary lays out one argument for Sara Feigenholtz.

You can contribute to Sara Feigenholtz here. ActBlue has Feigenholtz at 235 supporters for $86,835 (through the site).

Mike Quigley

Quigley Walk-Front Quigley Walk-Back

I got to Mike Quigley's headquarters an hour or so into their Chili Warmup for volunteers who had canvassed that morning.  So his headquarters was pretty full of staff and volunteers, and Quigley was engaged in talking to people throughout.

Quigley, I am told, has walked through a couple of wards, including 47, which is where he was on Saturday.  Again, I asked what kind of reaction he was getting:

Very positive, since our mail has started, the ID's are shifting more in Mike's favor.

The message Quigley is taking to the voters is:

Mike's 10 years on the county board standing up for taxpayers and against the politics of Todd Stroger prove he's the only candidate in this race they can trust to fight for their economic interests in these tough times.

Quigley Mailer-Front Quigley Mailer-Back

Quigley's campaign reports the same thing I found in my own inquiries among voters in the district:

Most voters are actually still not aware of the special election.  They mostly talk about the economy and taxes when we get them on the phones.

Quigley Mailer-Inside1 Quigley Mailer-Inside2

Quigley has a fairly extensive Issues Page up.  The campaign reports that "We're going to get a few more specific policy proposals out coming soon." He continues to benefit from his opposition to Todd Stroger's proposals, as evidenced in this ABC report as well as this Fox report. 

The campaign responds that its volunteer activities are the same each week:

Same canvass and call times.  9-9 every day, 10-5 saturdays and 12-6 on sundays.  We're hosting a meet and greet for undecided voters on saturday from 10-11 with Mike.

Magen Ryan (magen-at-quigleyforcongress-dot-com) remains the contact person for volunteers.  

The Quigley campaign reported raising $140,000 last year, and has two fund-raisers this week.  The first is an LGBT event on Thursday at Minibar (3341 N Halsted St.) and the second is Friday at Party Palace (7064 N Clark St).  Quigley's website has more details.  You can contribute online here.

Tom Geoghegan

Geoghehan Walk-Front Geoghehan Walk-Back

Tom Geoghegan remains a feature of the blogosphere.  Interest outside the district in his candidacy is high; the problem is turning that outside interest into votes in the 5th.

Geoghegan's campaign office was one of the first I visited on Saturday.  I arrived to find the candidate himself clearly taking a breather from the cold.  He was still wrapped up, having been knocking on doors and appeared a little flush.  The office itself was identifiable only by a handwritten sign announcing itself.  On the wall was a thermometer (the kind we generally associate with fund-raising) with the goal 20,000 at the top.  20,000 voter contacts by the 15th (iirc).

The fourth field organizer started on Monday.  They are clearly ramping up, but you have to wonder if its fast enough.  While the Chicago-area unions are endorsing other candidates, Students for a New American Politics PAC decided to get behind Geoghegan.

I didn't have to ask if Geoghegan was knocking on doors -- his presence on Saturday made that obvious -- but I did anyway.  So what kind of response is he getting?

Tom's message of economic security for working Americans is well received.

What is that message?

Economic security for working Americans -- raising social security, single-payer universal health care, and making banks cut lending charges and interest rates.

The economy is the biggest issue that voters are interested in (not surprisingly), according to the campaign.

The Geoghegan campaign has the most active calendar, to date:

The Interview Show
When: Friday, February 6, 2009 @ 7:00 PM
Where: The Hideout, 1354 W Wabansia Ave

Canvass & Phone Bank for Tom
When: Saturday, February 7, 2009 @ 10:00 AM
Where: Field Office, 4419 W. Irving Park

Meet & Greet w/ Tom
When: Saturday, February 7, 2009 @ 10:00 AM
Where:The Book Cellar, 4736 N Lincoln Ave

GCC Candidates Forum
When: Saturday, February 7, 2009 @ 3:00 PM
Where: Berry Memorial United Methodist Church, 4754 North Leavitt Street

GCC Candidates Forum
When: Saturday, February 7, 2009 @ 8:00 PM
Where: Islamic Community Center of Illinois, ICCI, 635 W. Belmont Ave.

Canvass & Phone Bank for Tom
When: Sunday, February 8, 2009 @ 10:00 AM
Where: Field Office, 4419 W. Irving Park

GCC Candidates Forum
When: Sunday, February 8, 2009 @ 1:00 PM
Where: Muslim Community Center, MCC, 4380 N. Elston Ave.

Fifth District Fundraiser
When: Sunday, February 8, 2009 @ 2:30 P<
Where: Broadway United Methodist Church, 3344 N Broadway St

Drinking Liberally Chicago
When: Tuesday, February 9, 2009 @ 7:00pm
Where: Sheffield's, 3258 N. Sheffield Ave.

Canvass & Phone Bank for Tom
When: Everyday @ 10:00 AM
Where: Field Office, 4419 W. Irving Park
Email Jacob at Jacob@Tom09.com to sign up!

When I visited the Geoghegan campaign, two volunteers were on the phones and at least one person returned a walk packet.  That's what they are asking volunteers to do, "Phoning, walking and spreading the message." Jacob Dusseau at Jacob@Tom09.com is the primary contact for people interested in volunteering.

The campaign reports that:

we have a virtual phone bank and have raised over $125,000 dollars across the Internet.  We are also taking advantage of Facebook (869 supporters), Twitter,YouTube and our regularly updated blog at www.Tom09.com.  More video is also available at Crooks & Liars.

The Geoghegan campaign remains active in the blogosphere.  Geoghegan had two diaries this week, here and here. He was the top vote getter at the Northside DFA endorsement session. And Don Rose argues that Geoghegan stands out. You can see Geoghegan's stands on the issues here.

Geoghegan has had 1,144 supporters contribute $126,403 through ActBlue, which is the campaign's preferred contribution method.  Their ActBlue link is here.

Jan Donatelli

Jan Donatelli's campaign office was the last one I visited on Saturday.  It was perhaps the most interesting visit I had.

I walked in to find a full phone bank on one wall of their campaign office.  Like Mike Quigley, they had a diverse group of volunteers.  I talked briefly with her campaign staff, who appeared to have known each other from prior efforts.  Like their candidate, they are bright, eager campaigners, outsiders to Chicago politics in the truest sense of the word.  But they did not come from some state that might be perceived as naive in terms of Chicago politics.  

I also got to meet the candidate, who was preparing for the Sunday forum.  She told me that she had been knocking on doors, as well as dialing for dollars.  Again, I asked them what kind of response Donatelli is getting from voters: "Excellent - people really are enthused to hear from someone who is not a typical politician."

What is her message?

Illinois residents deserve something better than what we've seen out of our government over the last few years. It's time for someone who not a typical politician, and understands that regular people need to have a voice in government.

Jan is ready to work with President Obama to get our economy back on track, fight for our working families, and make sure our schools are doing the job they need to be.

What do voters think is the most important issue?

The economy and the stimulus package are obviously on everyone's minds, but voters also are just tired of government that is accessible only to the connected few, and want a representative in Congress who is responsive to them, and not worried about power games.

They add:

We've really got a sense of momentum developing on this campaign, and we'd love for folks interested in hearing more about Jan or helping her win this race to call us at 773-348-7145 anytime!

Donatelli has gotten some nice press in the last week.  The Chicago Free Press had wrote this:

Donatelli feels that she has exactly what it takes to represent the 5th District, which is mostly blue collar Democrats. She believes that as a veteran, union member and former small business owner, she is more in tune with the needs of her district.

"People are really hurting in this district," Donatelli said. "I don't know anyone who is doing well."

Donatelli believes that the U.S. is at the verge of a "major Depression." She supports Obama's plan to build sustainable infrastructure and green jobs. By building an infrastructure plan and spending wisely, Donatelli believes that the economy, which she calls the "Number One priority" in her district, can get back on its feet.

However, Donatelli knows that politicians can hold up what needs to be done. Now is not the time, however, to squabble and balk at the cost of an effective plan of action. This is where Donatelli's activist nature can help, she said.

Donatelli's campaign is using volunteers in the traditional manner.  They tell us:

Our volunteers are focused heavily on voter contact, both on the phones and at the doors. It's the best use of their time, and voters often will hear a candidate's message in a different way if it's coming from a friend or neighbor.

We have phone banks running every day out of our HQ office (morning, afternoon, and evening shifts Mon-Fri, morning and afternoon on Saturday, and afternoon and evening on Sunday), canvassing on Saturday (9:30am and 12:30pm shift) and Sunday(12:30pm shift). We encourage anyone interested in helping Jan win this race to call us at 773-348-7145.

While Donatelli did not participate in the Saturday forum, she is participating in all three of the GCC forums this weekend.  Other scheduled events can be seen here.

Donatelli has been picking up endorsements in her field, including We're endorsed by Veterans and Military Families for Progress, the Delta and United Master Councils of the ALPA (AFL-CIO), the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA, AFL-CIO), and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.  For the people she has talked to, Donatelli has proven impressive.  I suppose the question is, can she talked to enough people to be a factor in this race?

Donatelli's take on the Issues can be found on her website.  You can donate to her campaign here.

Paul Bryar

Bryar Walk-Front Bryar Walk-Back

Coincidentally, when I arrived at Paul Bryar's office right before his campaign manager got a call from a reporter with the Chicago Journal.  They wanted to understand why volunteers from his campaign challenged the petitions of other candidates in the race. Challenging petitions is a standard Machine tactic, but Joe Woodward wasn't directing their efforts (according to him).  It's about accountability, he told me, echoing what he told the Chicago Journal.

Given his frank honesty about the other questions I asked, I have no reason to question his reasoning.  What kind of feedback are you hearing from voters?

Jobs and Economic Hardships.  Paul has talked to countless voters, and this is the number one issue for this district.  Additionally healthcare reform and political corruption are other concerns.

Bryar Supporter Card-Front Bryar Supporter Card-Back

What is your candidate's message?

As a doctor who sees patients in both a university and community health clinic settings, I am on the front lines every day.  I know what challenges my patients face, and can lend much more to the process of solving this crisis than an entrenched politician who is looking to advance his or her political career.  As a teacher, I know the struggles my students have with student loan debt.  I see the results of federal mandates for students and teachers, and how they often prevent students from learning and teachers from teaching.  As a professional, I do not have any ties to a corrupt Illinois political system where pay to play politics is business as usual.  My degree in Government complements all of these aspects of my professional career.  These experiences will make me an effective Congressman, who has the best interests of people, not politics in mind. We have got to get people back to work.

Bryar Mailer-Front Bryar Mailer-Front

What do voters think are the most important issues in this campaign?

Economy
Healthcare
Political Corruption

Joe tells us that they've "connected over 5,000 voters at this point, and we are getting a strong and positive response."

Our volunteers are the number one asset to this campaign.

Volunteers are helping us knock on doors and make phone calls.  With their help we were also able to get up to 450 supporters on Paul's Facebook page, and the number is growing every day.

They are canvassing every Saturday at 10:00am and every Sunday at 12:30pm out of their campaign office at 1800 West Berenice, Suite 200.  They are phone banking every Wednesday between 5:00pm and 8:00pm (same location).  Elin Boyle is the primary contact for volunteers, and can be reached at elin@bryarforcongress.com .

The campaign tells us:

We made a strong cable buy.  We're targeting news programs and women. We are on four different cable systems across the district with varying networks targeted to match movement among undecided voters.

Bryar and Forys were covered by a recent story in the Tribune:

Bryar, for example, has pointed to his volunteerism in helping uninsured patients in Chicago's Cabrini Green neighborhood and advocated for additional funding for children's medical care. And Forys is touting his many years of service on the Northwest Side, where, he said, he has maintained service to government-insured patients at a time many doctors have turned them away.

Bryar has a fundraiser on Wednesday at Lizzie McNeill's Irish Pub (400 N. McClurg Court).  You can donate to his campaign online here.

Charlie Wheelan

40,000 cars a day go by Charlie Wheelan's campaign headquarters on a weekday.  They have what a realtor would call a prime location.  So what kind of feedback is Wheelan getting from voters?

Very positive! At forums and community meetings, people are responding to Charlie's candor and obvious depth of understanding on the issues. We're also gotten great feedback about our TV spot "Underwater."

Our message is that Charlie is the candidate best equipped to tackle the economic crisis. Charlie is not a professional politician.   He's a policy guy, and now more than ever it's important that our representatives in Washington be well-informed and  have new and concrete ideas about what steps we need to take to start turning the economy around.

What do voters think are the most important issues in this campaign?

Everywhere we're going, the number one concern is the economic downturn, and how its affecting peoples' jobs, homes, and families. With Blagojevich's impeachment and the mess that led up to it, folks are more tired than ever of politics-as-usual and the Chicago machine. They want to talk about the real issues and what we can do to turn things around.

The campaign notes that "The Chicago Sun-Times' Neil Steinberg endorsed us in his column this week."

Their volunteer strategy is familiar:

We have volunteers on the phones every night and out walking neighborhoods every day.  We also have  student interns who are working on their own long term projects along with the staff.

Mondays are young professionals night:   Join us at 6:00 pm  in the office, then at 9 pm. for happy hour.  Next Tuesday: It's Spanish-language phone bank night.

Erik is the primary contact for volunteers, and can be reached by Calling: (773) 472-9400.

We are told that "Charlie will be continuing to talk to parents at elementary schools each morning.  Please contact the campaign for his full schedule." He will be at the GCC forum on Sunday, Februrary 8th at the Muslim Community Center, 4380 N Elston in Chicago.

You can contribute to Wheelan's campaign online here.

Victor Forys

Victor Forys' office was the first campaign headquarters I visited last Saturday.  Except I went to the wrong one.  They were opening another campaign office in the Polish neighborhood, so everybody who wasn't walking was probably eating!

Forys Walk-Back Forys Walk-Front

This office, though, was filled with lit and signs.  They've had 40 people out canvassing, with a lot more working the phones.  They are, as expected, targeting the immigrant community (Poles make up about 17% of the district) and they aren't simply targeting Democrats.  They also have a concerted effort aimed at the Spanish-speaking community.  "The immigrant story works well there, too," I was told.

Forys has already walked in Wards 33 and 45.  So what is he hearing?

Dr. Forys is getting tremendous positive feedback from voters. Over half of the voters that our campaign contacts say they will support Dr. Forys. We are talking to them about the issues that matter to them and providing real solutions on the economy, health care and immigration.

The economy is the most important issue but people realize that fixing health care is a big part of fixing out economy. People are losing their jobs and at the same time they lose their health insurance. We have to help them.

Voters are telling us that Dr. Forys' message to fix health care so that we can help our economy is a strong argument that resonates with them.

Forys Card-Front Forys Card-Back

What is he telling voters?

Dr. Forys' message is that we can get our economy back on track and create jobs but we need to fix health care because that is both a short term and long term help to our economic recovery. Small and medium sized businesses are hurting because of the high cost of health care. If we can help them create jobs, our economy will grow and get moving again.

The campaign tells us:

Our volunteers are incredible. We have an aggressive volunteer driven phone bank and door knocking operation. We are making over 2,000 calls a day and knocking on hundreds of doors each week. Our phone bank is operating in three different languages: English, Polish and Spanish.

Our precinct captains are building our organization so that we increase those numbers over the coming weeks. We are already building our GOTV operation with over 200 GOTV weekend and Election Day volunteer shifts filled already.

Our lawn signs and window signs are going up all over the district. We had over 100 people come into our offices on Thursday and Friday of this week to pickup lawn signs. We also have volunteers placing signs where our supporters request them.  In all, hundreds of our signs go out daily.

We have phone banking and canvassing every day. We phone bank until 9pm each night from our Belmont office at 6115 W Belmont Ave. Volunteers go out every day to canvas, with the most people going out on the weekends. Please come by and help out.

On Friday February, 13th we are having a "Friendraiser" at Martini Club from 7:30 to 9:30pm. The Martini Club is located at 3124 N. Central Ave.

Katie or Langston are the primary contacts for volunteers.  You can reach them at 773-682-1210 or info@victorforus.com .

Forys has two other fund-raisers planned this week: a Greek Community Fund Raiser at Empress Banquets (200 E Lake St., Addison, IL 60101) on Tuesday and a Young Professionals for Forys event at Salud (1471 N. Milwaukee) on Thursday.  More information can be found here. You can donate online here.

John Fritchey

Fritchey Walk-Front Fritchey Walk-Back

Endorsement-wise, it would appear that John Fritchey was the big winner this week.  In fact, Fritchey has lined up so much Union support that people are wondering about it. To date, the AFSCME endorsement and the Illinois AFL-CIo are probably the most significant.  Tomorrow's Civic Action/Illinois endorsement session could be even more telling.  If Fritchey comes out of tomorrow with that endorsement, he would have to be considered hands down the front runner in the race.

Of course, Sara Feigenholtz will have something to say about that.  To this point, we are told, "John has recently been endorsed by the AFL-CIO, IFT, AFSCME, the Jewish Political Alliance of Illinois, the American Muslim Task Force and the Illinois Committee for Honest Government, to name a few."

Fritchey's campaign has scaled up very quickly.  Surprisingly, despite the worries about his connections with various Chicago pols, his campaign is not comprised of machine tacticians or Daley buddies on the northside.  Not at all.  His vocal opposition to Daley's pet plan to privatize Midway is another clue.

Instead, Fritchey has proven to be a very methodical and cautious politician.  So what is he telling voters?

John is a thoughtful, reform-minded legislator with a history of results. He sponsored the Pay-to-Play ban, led the effort to cap rising property taxes and has a 100% environmental voting record. No candidate has a prouder history of going to bat for constituents, and winning.

What is he hearing from them?

People want to know about the economy, and economic independence. They're worried about staying in their jobs and homes, and about politicians who don't take ethics seriously.

We had many new volunteers this week who first saw John at the DePaul forum last Sunday and are motivated to help. We've been phone banking, door knocking, and heading out to el stations bright and early so that the people of the 5th District can get to know John. The response has been loud and clear: people like that John is substantive, knowledgeable on the issues and has a record of going up against corrupt Illinois politicians. Many voters recognize him as one of Blagojevich's earliest and most vocal opponents, and ask continue to work for more government reform.

"Volunteers get involved with voter outreach, through phone banking and door knocking." Those who are interested should contact Brian Gorman, Deputy Field Director, at (773) 472-8683 or brian@fritchey.com .

Fritchey was also interviewed by EXTRA and can be found here.

Like Barack Obama, John Fritchey has built a political career out of surprising people.  It's hard to call him an underdog, but he's likely to do the unexpected.  Not because it's not planned, but because Fritchey defies traditional Chicago definitions.  The campaign tells us:

John is a proven warrior on behalf of the people of Illinois. He's behind the cap on skyrocketing property tax assessments, the pay-to-play ban, PayDay lender reform and tax swap legislation that will bring more equitable funding to Illinois' schools. His efforts have made a difference for children, seniors, homeowners, veterans, environmentalists and all others working for a better Illinois. Now he needs your support as he takes the fight for all Illinoisans to Congress. Volunteer, donate and tell everyone you know to vote for John Fritchey on March 3.

You can contribute to Fritchey's campaign here.

Tags: Candidates, IL-05, Special Election (all tags)

Comments

4 Comments

Re: IL-05 Primary Roundup #2

Rec'd

by QTG 2009-02-07 07:08AM | 0 recs
DePaul candidate forum

This is my write-up of the DePaul forum.

My general take is the Jan Donatelli probably made the case she should be considered a top-tier candidate in her ability to communicate effectively.

John Fritchey also did quite well. He made being an experienced pol and legislator work to his advantage.

Charlie Wheelan and Tom Geoghegan showed they were serious candidates on policy.

IMO, both Mike Quigley and Sara Feigenholtz had problems. Quigley repeated alienated progressives on Israel and Middle East policy. For Quigley to win he needs progressives who do have other options in this race. Feigenholtz was flat. On not question did she give an answer that made anyone think, "Wow, that was a good answer."

Victor Forys was almost a break-out candidate, but not quite.

Annunzio had good moments, but was overshadowed by better candidates. Bryar wasn't able to draw a contrast with others on his issue, health care. He neither advocated a position substantially different, nor was he able to show he had superior understanding of health care as a policy issue. Monteagudo was probably disadvantaged by the format which penalized him for being less assertive than the others.

by Carl Nyberg 2009-02-07 08:02AM | 0 recs
Re: IL-05 Primary Roundup #2

The You Tube clip I'd like to see is the answer to the question about how to handle Bush administration misconduct in Iraq.

by Carl Nyberg 2009-02-07 08:07AM | 0 recs
Re: IL-05 Primary Roundup #2

i think the illinois5th website has video for the whole thing.  there is a link to their video page above...

by bored now 2009-02-07 08:56AM | 0 recs

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