The Race to Replace Rahm’s Final Lap

A consequence of the most interesting election cycle of my lifetime, the build-up for Tuesday’s vote in Illinois’ Fifth District has been a disappointment. As I’ve lamented previously, this rare occurrence of an open election with several appealing candidates, at a time of crisis, has been largely devoid of substantive debate.  In part, this reflects the snappiness of the election and the fact that the major candidates are largely in accordance on major issues like the stimulus, immigration and gay marriage. However, much digital ink has been spilt, by blogs, twitterers, and journalists, on issues such as who’s better buddies with Todd Stroger and Rod Blagojevich, who holds the biggest checkbook, who’s made the best use of Twitter and Facebook. (As smart outsiders, Tom Geoghegan and Charlie Wheelan have avoided this minutae in favor of issues. Progress Illinois has a thorough review of the policy positions of the five candidates who’ve raised the most money.)

Some thoughts as the election enters the final 48 hours:

  • This email from Ald. Patrick J. O’Connor’s campaign is worth a chuckle if you know much about the powerful alderman.  “Pat has been an advocate for change in Chicago for 25 years. He understands what it takes to create REAL results with integrity.”
  • On Twitter, I received my first direct message vote solicitation, from the @QuigleyCampaign. (I don’t live in the 5th, if I did, I’d be happy to vote for Quigley– as I would be for a few of the other candidates.
  • A friend just mentioned that, in addition to the Tribune and Sun-Times editorial boards, Quigley has the support of long-time reformer and Depaul professor Dick Simpson.)
  • I haven’t watched TV once this past week without encountering one of the ads the SEIU bought for Sara Feigenholtz.
  • The forecast for Election Day: seasonably chilly, but no rain or snow.
  • Predictions: Russ Stewart is guessing that Fritchey wins with 29%, followed by Feigenholtz with 26%, Quigley and O’Connor, with a turnout of 35,000.

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