Voter (s) elect Emanuel's likely replacement -- no one cares

Jake Turcotte/AP photo/Newscom photo
Democratic Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley, addresses supporters in Chicago, Tuesday, March 3, 2009 after winning the Democratic primary for the 5th Congressional seat vacated by U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel who left Congress to be President Barack Obama's chief of staff. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

There's always a slogan. Whether it was Barack Obama's "Yes we can" or John McCain's "Country First" or Barry Goldwater's "In your guts, you know he's nuts."*

Anyway, in Chicago, the slogan appears to be "Who cares?"

There was a Democratic primary last night in Illinois' 5th Congressional District for the seat that Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel used to have. But someone forgot to let everyone know. Less than 20 percent of registered voters turned out (but that doesn't count dead people).


Of the handful of people that actually did vote though, Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley received a whopping 22 percent. In other words, a landslide.

That means he gets the honor of going up against a couple of sacrificial lambs from the Republican and Green parties in the April 7 general election.

So incidental are they that the Chicago Tribune doesn't even mention them by name.


Anyway, the good news is the new guy isn't anything like some of those embattled Illinois politicians who have represented the Fifth District in the past like impeached ex-governor Rod Blagojevich (criminal trial forthcoming) or former Congressman Dan Rostenkowski (formerly jailed, now a political commentator).

He's one of the good guys like Senators Dick Durbin and Roland Burris.

"After all the recent embarrassments, this was the first chance that the voters had to voice their desire for change and they spoke loud and clear," Quigley told the Chicago Tribune. "They came through for me, and now I have to come through for them."

Emanuel's call

Any advice for Quigley? Emanuel called him up last night to offer him tips.

“Rahm told me, ‘A lot of people come to Congress, and they want to save the world,’” Quigley told the Chicago Sun-Times. “He told me to focus on serving the constituents. That’s what I’m going to do. I learned that a long time ago.”

Unfortunately for the Fifth District, Quigley wasn't around to put in an earmark or five for them in the $410 billion omnibus bill (which contains more than 8,500 earmarks).

That means if there was a problem with pig odor or if the district wanted a wolf breeding facility, they're out of luck.

Fortunately though, his likely boss -- House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer -- isn't going to allow any earmark reduction silliness that Obama said he supported.

"I don't think the White House has the ability to tell us what to do," Hoyer told reporters yesterday.

* "In your guts, you know he's nuts" was actually an unofficial anti-Goldwater slogan.

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