Replacing Rahm: The Candidates, Part 2
By Hunter Clauss in News on Feb 17, 2009 5:00PM
Early voting has already begun in Illinois's Fifth Congressional District, so Chicagoist figured that with 25 candidates in the race to keep Rahm Emanuel's seat warm for him, we'd look at five each day all this week. Read Part 1 here.
John Fritchey’s political career began when he was elected to the Illinois House in 1996 after his predecessor, Rod Blagojevich, went on to Congress. In fact, Fritchey’s state campaign received a major boost from some of the early supporters of the former governor, which included the influential Chicago alderman and Blago-father-law Dick Mell. Despite the connections to Blagojevich, Fritchey has been a staunch critic of the former governor, challenging him when it even appeared to anger some of the old-school Democrats. Fritchey and then-state senator Barrack Obama pushed through ethics bills in the statehouse that included mandatory ethics training for all state employees and barred state workers from engaging in political activities while at work. Fritchey’s marriage to the niece of powerful Chicago alderman William J.P. Banks has also helped Fritchey’s political career. However, the both have come under fire for questionable conflicts of interest when Fritchey presents zoning cases to the Chicago Council’s Zoning Committee, which is headed by Banks. Fritchey has said there is nothing improper about the situation as long as Banks does not vote on the cases. When Fritchey isn’t upsetting Geraldo Riveria, he enjoys listening to REM and watching "Boston Legal".
Endorsed by the Sun-Times, Mike Quigley is known as a key player in a group of reform-minded commissioners once known as the Four Horsemen of the Cook County Board. In 2003, Quigley and commissioners Forrest Claypool, Larry Sufferdin and Tony Peraica successfully garnered enough votes on the county board to shoot down then-President John Strogers’s proposed budget, which called for tax hikes. It was the first time in 30 years that the board voted against the president’s proposed budget. However, that alliance experienced a number of fractures that included Quigley voting for President Todd Strogers’s 2007 budget. Some of Quigley’s opponents in the fifth congressional race have tried to paint Quigley as a stooge for Stroger, but Quigley was a vocal opponent to Stroger’s 2008 budget that called for a controversial sales tax increase.
Mark Arnold Fredrickson
Green Party candidate Mark Fredrickson allegedly enjoys “equestrian three-day eventing, freight railroading & commercial aviation, carrying a Northwest Airlines FAA air crewman certificate.” Hobbies aside, Fredrickson is a former Cook County precinct captain and was once an investigative reporter for the St. Louis Globe Democrat (when it was still around). Fredrickson favors more transparency of the TARP fund, bringing peace to the Middle East, and putting the brakes on wasteful government spending.
“Liberal Republican” Tom Hanson is a commercial realtor who doesn’t live in the fifth congressional district. “I’d have my time to go home at night and relax and get my peace of mind, and then there are nights that I would have to go out and go to town meetings or whatever,” said Hanson to Medill Reports. “I can work in the 5th District, but I won’t have somebody hassling me about politics in the elevator in my own building.” Hanson grew up in the affluent North Shore and currently resides in Northfield. In addition to being a real-estate broker, Hanson also serves on the board of directors for Life Directions, a non-profit organization that develops outreach programs for teenagers, and has worked for the Tribune Companies and U.S. News and World Report. Hanson favors granting same-sex couples something that is similar to marriage but isn’t marriage, which is probably why the Log Cabin Republicans of Illinois (or at least one of them) are throwing their support behind him.
Republican Gregory Bedell is an attorney for Knabe, Kroning & Mainzer and has taught constitutional and commercial law in France, where we hope he didn’t refer to French fries as freedom fries. Bedell doesn’t favor building a fence along the Mexican border (“We should have by now learned the lesson of the Maginot line”) and thinks nuclear power should be re-visited as a way of solving the nation’s energy crisis. Cook County Commissioner Tony Peraica endorsed Bedell, calling him, "one of the new, energetic Republicans who can make a difference by leading with traditional principles. He’ll fight for all the citizens of the 5th District, without ties to the political machine or special interest groups.”