Ross Levin • Operation Itch Contributing Writer
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In Illinois’ fifth congressional district, over two dozen candidates have filed for the March 3rd primary. The special primary and special election are being held to replace Rahm Emanuel, who will be moving from the House to the White House. He will become Barack Obama’s Chief of Staff.
The five candidates are Deb Leticia Gordils, Mark Arnold Fredrickson, Alan Augustson (who was previously reported on here), Mathew Reichel, and Simon Ribeiro. Only 30 signatures were needed to qualify for the primary ballot.
There are interesting political histories behind these candidates. First, Deb Gordils challenged an incumbent, Dick Mell, for city council in Chicago’s Ward 33 who could not be unseated in 2003. She is Hispanic and the district has a fast-growing Hispanic constituency. Even though she was unsuccessful, garnering 13.75% of the votes in the non-partisan two-way race, it amounted to a Pyrrhic victory for the incumbent. An ally of his was defeated because he had to focus on his own reelection instead of focusing on electing this ally. Two cops even tried to take pictures her as a “representative of Mell’s,” and her video recording of this led to the defeat of one of the cops in a race for Alderman:
Gordils made headlines earlier when she confronted two uniformed police officers taking pictures of her and identifying themselves as Mell’s representatives.
“They said, ‘What are you looking for? What job can we get you? Do you want something with the Water Reclamation District? You only have to go to a couple of meetings,”” Gordils said.
Gordils turned her video camera on them. One was Chester Hornowski, who’s running against Ald. Tom Allen (38th).
As IPR has previously reported, Alan Augustson ran in the same district as a Green in November. He got just over 9,200 votes – or 4% – with the Democratic winner getting over 170,000 votes, and the Republican getting about 50,000.
Another former opponent of Rahm Emanuel in the race is Mark Fredrickson, who ran against him in the 2006 Democratic primary and got about 9% of the vote. Emanuel is a Democrat of the highest order – apparent from his recent appointment by Obama and being the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaigns Committee – so Fredrickson had an uphill battle to fight with his 2006 candidacy. Emanuel is also infamous for being a vicious partisan and relentless fighter.
Candidate Matt Reichel is only 27 years, yet has some political experience. He worked with the peace movement while in college, volunteered for political causes in France during graduate school, and in 2007 he moved to Las Vegas, Nevada and worked for the Dennis Kucinich for President campaign. After Kucinich conceded, he went to Ohio’s 10th congressional district to help re-elect the Congressman.
Interestingly, Simon Ribeiro is the nephew of former US Senate Alfonse D’Amato, who represented New York. The following video was posted at Ribeiro’s campaign website: