Rep. Mike Quigley (D)
Illinois 5th District
Few places in America today have more ethnic and cultural variety than the North Side of Chicago. This has been the destination of one immigrant group after another and its neighborhoods harbor all manner of successful middle-class people. Wooden workingman’s cottages from the late 19th century give way to sturdy brick houses from the early 1900s, and then to the prairie bungalows of the 1920s and the white-shuttered, orange-brick colonials of the 1950s. Chicago was America’s top immigrant destination for Poles, Lithuanians, Czechs, Slovaks, Ukrainians, and Romanians. Something about the heavy, dull clouds of the long winters, the short, hot summers, a climate suited to potatoes and cabbage and other hardy vegetables, may have reminded them of central and eastern Europe. By the late 1980s, upwardly mobile immigrants from Mexico and Guatemala, Korea and the Philippines were moving in. The 1990s witnessed new rounds of immigrants from Poland and Ukraine, and also from Pakistan, India, and Bosnia. Family ties, webs of acquaintances that reach back to ancestral villages, have made the North Side of Chicago a natural port of entry for Eastern bloc migrants, even as other newcomers arrive with relationships extending to Latin America and Southeast Asia.
2008 Presidential Vote
|Cook Partisan Voting Index|
The 5th Congressional District covers an oddly shaped swath across Chicago’s North Side, running from the lakefront to the suburbs directly south of O’Hare Airport. The 5th includes Chicago’s most glamorous lakefront apartments facing the Oak Street beach and the gentrified neighborhoods of Old Town, where Crate & Barrel was founded in 1962 and where old houses and factories are being converted into upscale condominiums, often over the objections of preservationists. Nearby Lincoln Park abounds with boutiques, clubs and restaurants and has the highest median household income of Chicago’s 77 community areas. The district is home to baseball’s famed Wrigley Field, which opened in 1914 and is a protected landmark that has defied the teardown trend in ballparks and endured the heartbreak of the Cubs. It takes in the Polish-American and Ukrainian-American neighborhoods, with their own museums around Milwaukee Avenue, and the old Italian neighborhoods running west on Grand Avenue. A couple of blocks from the Chicago River is the grand old St. Stanislaus Kostka Church—a traditional center of the Polish community since the 19th century that now conducts Masses in Spanish. With the increase of Hispanic population to 28% in 2007, a language other than English is spoken in 46% of the district’s households. Across from Pulaski Park is the home of former Democratic Rep. Dan Rostenkowski, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee from 1981 to 1994, for whom the district was designed in 1992. The district’s politics are vintage Chicago. Longtime political consultant Don Rose says, “The 5th is the second-toughest machine-controlled Democratic congressional district in Chicago. It differs slightly from the conservative 3rd District because of a handful of independent-liberal lakefront precincts comprising 18 percent of the vote.” This is a solidly Democratic district. In 2008, Barack Obama won here 73%-26%.
Rep. Mike Quigley (D)
Elected: April 2009, 1st full term.
Born: Oct. 17, 1958, Indianapolis, IN .
Education: Roosevelt U., B.A. 1981; U. of Chicago, M.P.P. 1985; Loyola U., J.D. 1989..
Family: Married (Barbara); 2 children.
Elected office: Cook Cnty. commissioner, 1998-2009.
Professional Career: Cook Co. aldermanic aide, 1983-89; Adjct. prof., Roosevelt U., 2006-07; Adjct. prof. in political science, Loyola U. Chicago, 2002-09; Practicing atty., 1990-present.
The new congressman from the 5th District is Mike Quigley, who won a special election in April 2009 to succeed Democratic Rep. Rahm Emanuel after Emanuel was named President Obama’s White House chief of staff. Quigley grew up in the working-class suburb of Carol Stream in DuPage County. He graduated from Roosevelt University, got his law degree from Loyola University in Chicago, and practiced criminal law. He also taught political science part-time at Loyola. He started his career in politics as an aide to Ald. Bernard Hansen while studying for a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Chicago. He got involved in a community battle to stop the addition of lights for night games at Wrigley Field, which is in the heart of an old gentrified neighborhood of young professionals. In 1998, after an unsuccessful run in 1991 to become aldermen of the 46th Ward on the Chicago City Council, Quigley was elected to the Cook County Board, where he became an independent voice and a frequent nemesis of board President John Stroger. He pushed reforms such as ending patronage jobs at the Cook County Forest Preserve District, promoted environmental action and sponsored a proposal to allow gay and lesbian couples to register as domestic partners. In 2005, Quigley decided to challenge Stroger for board president, but later dropped out and backed Forrest Claypool, saying the two would split the anti-incumbent vote if they both remained in the race. Claypool repaid the favor by endorsing Quigley for the House seat.
|Mike Quigley (D)||30,561||(69%)|
|Rosanna Pulido (R)||10,662||(24%)|
|Matt Reichel (Green)||2,911||(7%)|
|Mike Quigley (D)||12,118||(22%)|
|John Fritchey (D)||9,835||(18%)|
|Sara Feigenholtz (D)||9,194||(17%)|
|Victor Forys (D)||6,428||(12%)|
|Pat O'Connor (D)||6,388||(12%)|
|Charlie Wheelan (D)||3,681||(7%)|
|Tom Geoghegan (D)||3,342||(6%)|
|Rahm Emanuel (D)||170,728||(74%)||($2,105,109)|
|Tom Hanson (R)||50,881||(22%)|
|Alan Augustson (Green)||9,283||(4%)|
|Rahm Emanuel (D)||Unopposed|
After Obama plucked Emanuel from the House, a long list of candidates jumped into the wide-open Democratic primary. State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz was endorsed by EMILY’s List and had the early fundraising lead. Alderman Patrick O’Connor and state Rep. John Fritchey had local party machine support, but organized labor split its endorsements. The appointment of Roland Burris to the Senate by impeached Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich became a campaign issue, with candidates seeking to burnish their credentials as reformers and attacking their opponents for having been associated with the disgraced governor. Quigley and Feigenholtz said Burris should resign; Fritchey suffered from having defended Burris at a legislative hearing in January 2009. Quigley ran a late ad comparing Feigenholtz to President Richard Nixon, saying she had resorted to unfair campaign charges. That may have extinguished any lingering friendship between Quigley and Feigenholtz, who had dated briefly years earlier.
Despite their backgrounds as organization figures, the leading candidates all employed Obama’s message of change. The influential Emanuel did not endorse anyone, but a yard sign for Feigenholtz appeared in front of his home, rumored to be put there by his wife. Quigley received key newspaper endorsements from the Sun Times and the Chicago Tribune, the latter praising him for an “outstanding record of independent, reform-minded performance in office.” In a low-turnout event on March 3, Quigley won with 22% of the vote to 18% for Fritchey and 17% for Feigenholtz. He ran especially well in the “lakefront liberal” wards. Fritchey’s support from organization bosses and Feigenholtz’s backing by women’s groups failed to deliver. Author Tom Geoghegan won plaudits from fellow writers, but only 6% of the vote.
Quigley breezed to victory in the April 7 general election against Republican Rosanna Pulido. He became heir to a district that has had a history of producing powerful if occasionally flawed national Democrats: the savvy Emanuel, who is known for his sharp tongue, the ethically challenged Blagojevich, and Rostenkowski, who did jail time for mail fraud after being accused of misusing his office accounts.