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5th CD roundup

Thursday, Feb 26, 2009

* Democrat Victor Forys has gotten little to no media coverage in the 5th Congressional special election. That’s unfortunate. Forys has an interesting campaign strategy that’s spelled out pretty well in an article written by a Polish Daily News reporter

Out of approximately 650,000 residents in the district, more than 111,000 (17%) are of Polish descent.

“All we need is 30,000 Polish-Americans to come out and vote and we’ll win,” Forys claimed in a phone interview. The candidate is counting on a very low turnout by the area’s non-Polish residents.

He probably only needs a fraction of that number, considering the expected low turnout. Forys has been pushing early voting very hard, and from what I hear the early voting roster is jam-packed with Polish surnames. Forys claims he’s already leading going into election day, and he might not be all wrong.

Forys runs a huge medical clinic in the district which serves the immigrant community. He claims the clinic serves 10,000 patients in the district. He attended grad school in Poland and has apparently been quoted often in Chicago’s extensive Polish media. The guy is very plugged in.

* But with visibility comes scrutiny, and being scrutined is not always fun. Consider this Forys press release, which features an attack on Mike Quigley by Republican gadfly Tony Peraica

Cook County Commissioner Tony Peraica called Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley a big phony when it comes to reform and in fact the worst kind of political insider.

Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley has sent out nearly 10 mail pieces showing Commissioner Quigley standing next to Commissioner Forest Claypool slamming Cook County Board President Todd Stroger.

The Minister of Propaganda for Germany in World War II, said “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”

“Commissioner Mike Quigley is telling a big lie, and he is repeating it over and over and over,” said Dr. Victor Forys, M.D.

Nazi baiting? What the heck?

Peraica’s support probably helps Forys in a fractured and impossible to predict Democratic primary. Media scrutiny might just help his campaign, even if it’s negative. But that hit was way over the line.

* Meanwhile, another little-noticed Democratic candidate is continuing to pile up endorsements from groups that are better known for backing conservative Republicans. From a press release…

Illinois Citizens for Life Federal PAC announced [yesterday] that the organization is endorsing Cary Capparelli, candidate on the Democratic ballot to fill Rahm Emanuel’s seat representing Illinois’ 5th Congressional District. […]

The Illinois Citizens for Life Federal PAC endorsement is the third one in less than a week for Cary Capparelli. Cary has received an endorsement from Family-Pac Federal last weekend. National Taxpayers United Illinois endorsed him on Monday. […]

“Cary Capparelli is a traditional Democrat who represents the values of the majority of hard-working Democrats in the 5th District,” said Paul Caprio, director of Family Pac Federal.

* And another “second tier” candidate, Tom Geoghegan, is trying to get some publicity by attaching himself to the Roland Burris issue. From a press release…

A suit was filed in court today calling on Governor Patrick Quinn and the state of Illinois to call a special election for the Senate seat previously occupied by President Barack Obama, as required by the 17th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

* And now to the “top tier” campaigns. The Sun-Times smacked down Mike Quigley

The fight for the open 5th Congressional seat is getting ugly.

And Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley deserves a knock for moving it in that direction.

With Election Day looming Tuesday, mailboxes in the North Side and suburban district have been littered with flyers, including a cheap and misleading one by Quigley. The Chicago Sun-Times editorial board endorsed Quigley and we stand by that endorsement. But that means we’re holding him to a higher standard, including calling him out when he strays.

Several of his ads blame his opponents Sara Feigenholtz and John Fritchey, both state representatives, for giving Chicago the highest sales tax in the nation.

That’s not accurate.

* The Tribune continues to omit sentences from its print edition in its online stories, which is just plain bizarre. For instance

Of all the candidates in the congressional race, Feigenholtz perhaps has the strongest ties to Blagojevich. Her campaign committee gave more than $10,000 to Blagojevich, including $5,000 in June 2006, when it was clear to the state’s political class that the then-governor’s administration was under federal scrutiny.

This line was in the print edition, but not online…

She also has hired as a campaign aide Becky Carroll, a deputy chief of staff to Blagojevich until September 2007.

* The Trib also whacks Rep. John Fritchey today

Like his predecessor in the Illinois House, John Fritchey is trying to jump from Springfield to Washington running as a reformer.

And much like then-state Rep. Rod Blagojevich did in his bid for Congress, Fritchey enjoys the backing of a politically connected father-in-law, other clout-heavy Democratic North Side ward bosses and many labor unions.

The piece is drenched with overt hostility. Go read the whole thing.

* Related…

* 5th District Campaigns Adjust to Low Voter Turnout

* Last day for early voting in Rahm Emanuel replacement race: Through Wednesday, just 3,420 people in the Chicago portion of the district had cast a ballot. In the suburban Cook County part, a whopping 235 people have voted since the early voting started Feb. 16.

* Hopefuls spar over economy, Olympics

* IL-05: The (Victor) Forys Interview

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Five Thousand West - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 11:22 am:

    Fritchey’s campaign held a tele-town hall last night that drew more than 5,500 participants. John took questions on education, mass transit, election reform, gay rights, immigration and much more. Very informative tool by the campaign.

  2. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 11:22 am:

    Great updates Rich.

    The Sun-Times and the Tribune should both reconsider their endorsements for Quigley, considering how hard both publications pushed for the CTA reform bill.

  3. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 11:24 am:

    === That’s not accurate. ===

    === Fritchey and Feigenholtz were right in voting for that small tax increase to keep our buses and trains running. ===


    Quigley lied.

    Quigley’s wrong on mass transit.

    Was that so hard to say?

  4. - Five Thousand West - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 11:25 am:

    YDD - The papers never should have endorsed Quigley in the first place, considering those endorsements were based on the fiction that he stands up to Stroger. If they bothered to read or heed their own past editorials, Quigley wouldn’t have had a chance.

  5. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 11:33 am:

    Actually, it could be a perfect storm for Forys; huge field, special election, prominent Pole, lakefront orientation of the front-runners.

  6. - Levois - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 11:41 am:

    Are they trying to put Fritchey and Blago in the same vote. Blago seemed to have lost his level headedness when he became Governor. I would expect that Fritchey wouldn’t display the demeanor that Blagojevich began to display when he became Governor.

  7. - earnest - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 11:48 am:

    I still don’t get the “only” 3,700 ballots.

    How many votes would be a good turnout? How many would be a low turnout? What have other special congressional elections drawn (like Jackson’s race 12 years ago?) And how do they have any idea of how early votes relate to the final turnout?

  8. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 11:54 am:

    Nazi baiting? What the heck?

    As a non-Pole, you might question this tactic. However, as one with Polish connections, this tactic isn’t questioned - it is understood.

  9. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 11:57 am:

    This is another campaign tactic that would probably be misunderstood by non-Poles.

  10. - soccermom - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 12:02 pm:

    It is scurrilous for the Tribune to try to connect Fritchey to Blagojevich. Anyone who has been following Fritchey’s career in the Statehouse knows that Fritchey has been a consistent — and effective — thorn in Blagojevich’s side for years. If it weren’t for Fritchey’s efforts, Illinois would never have had the legislation that banned Pay to Play and put Rod’s fundraising machine out of business. Dan Mihalopoulos knows better than this, and he should be thoroughly ashamed of himself for trying to mislead voters. I guess the Tribune is adopting the Fox News definition of “fair and balanced.”

  11. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 12:07 pm:

    Like his predecessor in the Illinois House, John Fritchey is trying to jump from Springfield to Washington running as a reformer.

    Like the Chevrolet Vega you thought would be reliable and save gas, the new Honda Civic is making the same claims.

    The Tribune sucks.

  12. - lake county democrat - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 12:16 pm:

    Did Forys have any connection to the late Ed Moskol?

    That is shameful that the Tribune would hint at a Fritchey/Blago comparison when Fritchey was such an early and consistent critic of the ex-guv. But most serious newspaper readers know the Tribune is a shadow of its former self and when the Sun-Times, who always had the more interesting columnists, now out-investigative-reporting them, they should just pack it in.

  13. - Laborguy - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 12:18 pm:

    First of all, the Tribune piece is completely fair. John Fritchey certainly is the product of Machine Politics having been sponsored twice for different political offices by Dick Mell and his uncle Billy Banks. As a corporate lobbyist for the likes of Bank of America, the payday loan industry and countless Chicago developers Frichey has demonstrated a unique ability to generate wealth for himself while representing the peoples’ interests in Springfield. Last but not least, John Fritchey has spent years ringing every political penny he could out of the gambling industry, payday loan industry, local developers and anyone else willing to invest in hhis seemingly endless potential and bight future. If you ask me this sounds eerily close to the methods and personality of one Hot Rod Blagojevich.

  14. - BannedForLife - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 12:30 pm:

    “Trib … piece is drenched with overt hostility.”

    how so?

  15. - JonShibleyFan - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 12:31 pm:


    Give folks a little credit. Anyone over the age of 30 ought to have at least some passing understanding of the Solidarity movement.

    It may have no sway whatsoever when they head to the polls, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t significant.

  16. - BannedForLife - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 12:35 pm:

    “It is scurrilous for the Tribune to try to connect Fritchey to Blagojevich.”

    it’s a simile. it sez “like.” excuse me, isn’t Fritchey like Blogo in both running for Congress as reformers, backed by unions and clout-heavy relatives and bosses?

  17. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 12:36 pm:

    This is another campaign tactic that would probably be misunderstood by non-Poles.

    I think a lot of people remember Solidarity (and how many remember all the help the AFL-CIO gave them?).

    Certainly that will appeal to more than just Poles.

  18. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 12:39 pm:

    Regarding the Trib and Fritchey, there are a million ways to write a lede. Choosing to tie him from the get-go to a disgraced and universally negatively perceived Blago is absolutely is overtly hostile. A good editor wouldn’t have allowed it.

  19. - scoot - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 12:40 pm:

    Go Victor! It would be nice to see a 2nd tier candidate win this race.

  20. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 12:44 pm:

    I went to see Lech in Daley Plaza in I believe 1990. Cold as could be, but plenty of non-Poles there. He was Time Man of the Year and won the Nobel Peace prize. So Solidarity references do “fall on deaf non-Polish ears,” whatever that’s supposed to mean.

  21. - Five Thousand West - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 12:45 pm:

    Laborguy, you apparently don’t know either Rod Blagojevich or John Fritchey very well.

    Rod never did a lick of work in Springfield or Washington, he was all about gaining power to himself. That trait exploded once he became gov and it rode him right off the rails.

    John on the other hand has always been a serious legislator, tough and smart, an extremely hard worker. He is a progressive Democrat but he is also pragmatic. I think his work on passing the payday loan reform act is a perfect example - John is the guy who was able to bring the parties to the table - consumer groups and business interests - and get a commonsense agreement for groundbreaking regulation, the first of its kind in Illinois. We need more John Fritcheys.

  22. - BannedForLife - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 12:49 pm:

    ” … there are a million ways to write a lede.”

    I see. So you would have moved up:

    “A member of the Illinois House who has proven his clean-government zeal as a vocal Blagojevich critic in recent years and as chief sponsor of more than two dozen pieces of reform legislation since he was elected to replace Blagojevich in the General Assembly in 1996is trying to jump from Springfield to Washington running as a reformer.”

    that’s the story?

  23. - BannedForLife - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 12:55 pm:

    “A good editor wouldn’t have allowed it.”

    so I guess the Sun-Times’ has better editors

    “Fritchey cultivates rep as an independent”

  24. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 12:56 pm:

    Banned for Life, it all depends how you want to spin it.

  25. - BannedForLife - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 12:57 pm:

    the S/T lead with the poor kid on hardship scholarships

  26. - Bill - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 12:57 pm:

    You can tell who the Sara people fear the most by who they are slamming. It changes on a daily basis which tells me that they are paying too much attention to whatever meaningless metrics that they are probably over paying for. Too many staff really do spoil the campaign. Whoever is in charge over there should really pry them away from twitter and their i-phones and find something constructive for them all to do. They are paying as much attention to the real nuts and bolts of their campaign as they do to baseball when they go to Flubs Field.

  27. - Niles Township - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 12:58 pm:

    The Trib web site indicates that Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago home has a Feigenholtz sign in its yard. My money is on his wife, Amy Rule, backing Sara.

  28. - ken - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 1:05 pm:

    Tom Geogahan(sic) just filed suit to force special election.

  29. - ken - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 1:06 pm:

    Here’s the link:

  30. - Laborguy - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 1:11 pm:

    It is pretty simple guys. Frichey is a creation of the Chicago Machine. There is no arguing that point. That doesn’t make him evil or even a bad legislator but it does means the “reformer” image is always going to be questioned. Throw on top of that his corporate lobbying and family ties and it leads many to have doubts about Mr. Fritchey’s true reforming credentials.

  31. - Citizen6 - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 1:12 pm:

    Glad Vanillaman caught the “Nazi baiting” thing. I read it and understood what Fory’s was doing instantly…had to smile, prettty clever trick. There are some hard feelings within the Polish community towards the Germans after that whole W-W-Two stuff.

  32. - babs - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 1:12 pm:

    So far, early voting represents about 10% - with about 3400 votes so far 35000 is total for this election. I’d say Victor has at least 2000 of those votes. Do I hear Michael Patrick Flanagan? This could make it really easy for Rahm to come back - in less than 2 years.

  33. - ConservativeVeteran - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 1:14 pm:

    The best pro-life candidate, in that race, is Rosanna Pulido. Capparelli doesn’t mention abortion, in the “Platform” section, of his website. Pulido’s site,, proudly states that she’s pro-life.

  34. - ken - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 1:22 pm:

    I’m not sure IL will vote for a pro-life candidate, especially in the fifth, but keep up the fight ConVet.

  35. - UofCalum - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 1:31 pm:

    Becky Carroll left the state to go to work for Barack. She ran the Women for Obama organization. The Trib didn’t mention that in either edition.

  36. - JonShibleyFan - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 1:36 pm:

    Babs, how are you deducing that Forys has 2000 of the 3400 early votes? And the Flanagan - Rosty race was a completely different animal (and Forys is, by declaration, at least, a Dem).

  37. - fedup dem - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 1:48 pm:

    If Tribune continues to allow the quality of its writing and reporting to deteriorate, they might as well start printing their newspaper on Charmin or Northern Bath Tissue, so the paper can be useful again!

  38. - Undecided Voter - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 1:59 pm:

    While undecided regarding this race, I found the piece by Dan Mihalopoulos to be (a) below his usual level of quality; and, (b) patently unfair. Blagojevich’s name is slipped in like a turd in the punch bowl to poison everything that comes in contact it.

    Poor writing from someone who knows better.

  39. - babs - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 2:10 pm:

    You can look at the names of those who have voted early - approx 500 people in the 36, 38, 45 wards and most of them have polish surnames. Let’s say a 100 of the early voters in each of those precincts are not Forys, he more than makes up for it and picks up another couple hundred in the remaining wards. Those votes should be for John (machine voters) but I don’t think that’s where they’re going. By comparing him to Flanagan I was suggesting that should he win, he would be a flash in the pan - regardless of party.

  40. - Just asking - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 2:20 pm:

    So how the heck does that get you near 2000 out of 3400 votes cast?

  41. - JonShibleyFan - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 2:32 pm:

    @Babs, OK. Well, I suppose that it isn’t scientific, but in this race, it’s as good as any other method of analysis. Would be a hoot if one of the second tier of candidates made a run at it, that’s for certain.

    And thanks for the explanation on the Flanagan comparison. I get you now (though I don’t know if Rahm will be able to extricate himself from the service of the president in just two years).

  42. - babs - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 2:36 pm:

    Yeah, that’s a bit high. I’d still say he’s close to 1500 though. One of the early voting sites is at Wright Junior College - with a large Polish population . That voting location is where you see the huge numbers of polish names - regardless of ward but highest concentrations in 36, 38, 39 and 45.

  43. - Five Thousand West - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 2:38 pm:

    I have been out on the doors and seen some evidence of this Forys strategy. Talked to a couple w/ Polish surname who thought the election had already happened - “they take us to the college and we vote for the guy”. The lady hardly spoke english and didn’t know her candidate’s name.

    Then again there was a latino couple who swore they were going to vote for “the cuban doctor” - they couldn’t come up with Monteagudo though.

  44. - illinois insider - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 2:38 pm:

    Babs - if Forys wins he has beat the Democratic machine on their own turf in an election where everyone has outspent him.

    Hardly a “flash in the pan” If one of your top tier candidates wins though it’s because they ran a great campaign right ?

    Gimme a break.

  45. - babs - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 2:47 pm:

    If Forys wins, it’s because he has a much larger base than anyone gave him credit for and because the three candidates in the top tier all represented a much smaller (and overlapping) section of the district. He will be a one-termer though. That’s the flash in the pan I spoke of.
    I’m not saying he will win. But I think too many people have underestimated his campaign.

  46. - illinois insider - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 2:54 pm:

    Babs - no if Forys wins it is because he motivated his base, a hard thing to do, turned them out, and expanded it into other communities.

    Sounds kind of like Obama’s strategy when he ran for Senate doesn’t it ?

    in the end this is a pass fail test. We will see if he passes on election day.

  47. - bored now - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 3:29 pm:

    if forys wins — which isn’t out of the range of possibility — it will be because a.) they expanded the electorate (when everyone else was focused on dem primary voters, they focused on specific target groups that fit their candidate’s message), b.) they were successful in communicating their message to these voters, and c.) they turned them out to vote. it’s a good, solid strategy, one they’ve talked about from the beginning. whether or not they are successful, we will see…

  48. - Snidely Whiplash - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 4:53 pm:

    Hmmmm … Forys attacks Quigley like a pit bull … Anyone stop to consider whether he might be a shill for Sara Feigenholtz (or John Fritchey?) to drain votes from the candidate consistently considered to be 1st or 2nd in the polls? I mean, really, that’s one goofy campaign strategy if he doesn’t have anything else going for him.

  49. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 4:54 pm:

    When I first looked at this race and the list of candidates names, I was surprised that noone with a Polish surname was running-obviously I was mistaken because Dr. Forys is Polish and apparnetly quite popular-not just in that community but in the eastern block and German folks too. It’s gonna be a wierd election.

  50. - ElectMike - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 5:39 pm:

    babs, Wright College is in 36 so many of those votes could be for Fritchey because of his clout with the Banks clan. I hope not. The only reform Fritchey wants is more corruption. There are also Italians there too so maybe some votes from Annunzio, Capparelli and Donatelli. I don’t see Victor getting the kind of vote suggested.

  51. - ElectMike - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 7:29 pm:

    Just heard Capparelli got another pro-life endorsement from D.C.

  52. - ElectMike - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 7:50 pm:

    Opps I was just told Donatelli is not Italian. She married an Italian. Sounds like she was put up to take away votes from the real Italians. Does anybody know more about this?

  53. - Laborguy - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 7:59 pm:

    Actually, the rumor has been the Mike Quigley got her in the race to take votes away from Sara but who really knows. Some people are thinking way too much. Sometimes the easiest explanation is the correct one.

  54. - ElectMike - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 10:16 pm:

    Funny thing is she went to several Italian American groups seeking endorsements.

  55. - Phil Burrey - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 1:50 am:

    “Actually, the rumor has been the Mike Quigley got her in the race to take votes away from Sara”

    Come on, Mr. MoJo Risin…please. That’s only a rumor if one person reads it and repeats it.

  56. - Short term memory - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 7:19 am:

    Is anyone going to be civil enough to slam the NAzi comments? And condemn them no matter who or where they come from? where is the outrage?

    Wasn’t Kaszak vilified in the last election for allegedly not standing up to similar comments?

  57. - Phil Burrey - Friday, Feb 27, 09 @ 8:11 am:

    STM, your memory serves you OK.

    But it wasn’t the last election — it was 2002, I believe. And it wasn’t charges of someone being a Nazi, rather it was a bit of very thinly veiled anti-Semitism.

    Ed Moskal, a Kaszak supporter, made comments directed at Rahm Emanuel and specifically his Polish supporters.

    You can look it up if you want.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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