* “Considering” is probably putting it mildly. Press release…
State Rep. Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) announced on Sunday night she is considering running in the special election for the 11th District State Senate seat vacated last week by Sen. Martin Sandoval.
“It is long past time for ethical, principled, progressive leadership to fight for the working families of the 11th District,” said Rep. Villanueva. “I’ve spent my career as a community organizer, as an advocate for immigrant communities, and now as a progressive state representative standing up for the families of the Southwest Side–and I’m ready to step up and lead the way forward as we bring needed change to this seat.”
“This isn’t a decision I can make alone,” said Rep. Villanueva. “I’ve spent the last several days talking with leaders and constituents. If I hear from community voices that they will support my run, then we’ll take the leap together.”
To ensure she can qualify for the ballot if she does decide to run, Villanueva said, she will need “all hands on deck” to gather the needed 1000-3000 signatures by the December 9 deadline, and said she will need supporters to join in the effort.
The sudden resignation of Sen. Sandoval, embroiled in a federal investigation into corruption allegations, triggered the special succession process that will lead to a March 17 special election to fulfill the remaining two years of Sen. Sandoval’s term.
Villanueva was sworn into the House of Representatives in July 2018. In her tenure as state representative, she has championed cannabis legalization, the Reproductive Health Act, legislation to protect immigrant rights, and the bill that creates a pathway to a fair income tax, which would require the very wealthy to pay their fair share in taxes.
And Edgar Gonzalez Jr., a constituency services liaison for Congressman Chuy Garcia, is already knocking on doors for signatures to replace Villanueva.
“I’ve spent the last several days talking with leaders and constituents. If I hear from community voices that they will support my run, then we’ll take the leap together,” Villanueva said in a release Sunday expressing her interest in the Senate seat.
Villanueva and Gonzalez are backed by [US Rep. Chuy Garcia] and House Speaker Mike Madigan. That support is important because candidates only have one week — a special filing period from Dec. 3 through 9 — to turn in the 1,000 required petition signatures (or about 3,000, for a cushion). That’s a big lift for any candidate. Money doesn’t get signatures, organizations do.
Of course, Garcia and Madigan know this so it’s no coincidence they were ready with candidates to jump in upon Sandoval’s exit announcement.
…Adding… As noted in comments and as I told subscribers earlier today, Edgar Gonzales has to turn in his petitions by the end of today to get onto the ballot. The special filing period is only for the Senate seat.
As we’ve already discussed, Sandoval’s resignation takes effect on January 1, so the district’s committeepersons will have 30 days to replace him. Madigan’s 13th Ward and former Ald. Mike Zalewski’s 23rd Ward organization have enough weighted votes to do it on their own.
* Good question in comments…
(F)ormer Chicago Ald. Michael Zalewski, whose home was raided by the feds earlier this year, is on the committee to replace Sandoval. Will the Speaker demand that Zalewski recuse himself to make sure the selection process is not tainted?
* The Question: Should 23rd Ward Democratic Committeeperson Mike Zalewski recuse himself from the Sandoval replacement process? Make sure to explain your answer, please. Thanks.
*** UPDATE 1 *** Rep. Mike Zalewski, the committeeperson’s son, just texted me that his father “is recusing himself from the Sandoval pick. Won’t attend a slating, won’t execute a proxy.” So, the question is now moot. Thoughts?
*** UPDATE 2 *** Barton is still on it…