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Illinois's 5th congressional district special election, 2009

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Title: Illinois's 5th congressional district special election, 2009  
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Language: English
Subject: Patrick J. O'Connor, 111th United States Congress, List of special elections to the United States House of Representatives, Charles Wheelan, Thomas Geoghegan, Mike Quigley (politician), John Fritchey, Illinois's 5th congressional district, Justin Oberman, Matt Reichel
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Illinois's 5th congressional district special election, 2009

Illinois's 5th congressional district special election, 2009
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2008 ←
April 7, 2009 (2009-04-07)
→ 2010
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Nominee Michael Quigley Rosanna Pulido
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 30,561 10,662
Percentage 69.2% 24.2%
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Representative before election

Rahm Emanuel

Elected Representative

Michael Quigley

A special election was held in Illinois's 5th congressional district in 2009 to fill the seat vacated by Rahm Emanuel. On April 7, Democratic nominee Michael Quigley defeated Republican nominee Rosanna Pulido and Green nominee Matt Reichel. Quigley was sworn in on April 21 and will serve out the current congressional term.

Emanuel officially resigned from the House of Representatives, effective January 2, in a letter to his constituents and Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.[1] Emanuel was named White House Chief of Staff by incoming President-elect Barack Obama. Emanuel was first elected to Congress from Illinois's 5th congressional district in 2002. His resignation followed being re-elected to a fourth term.

The governor's office announced that a special primary election would be held on March 3 and special general election would be held on April 7.[2] State law requires the governor to set a date for a congressional special election within five days of a vacancy being created. State law mandates that a general election must be held within 115 days of the vacancy.[3] In an effort to cut costs and help save money, the date of the special general election coincided with municipal elections scheduled in Chicago, Cook County, and surrounding metropolitan areas.[4]

There were 24 candidates representing three political parties in the March 3 special primary election. The Democrats had 13 candidates; the Republicans had six candidates; and the Greens had five candidates.

Quigley, a 50-year-old Cook County commissioner, won the Democratic Party's primary with 22% of the vote. He defeated a strong field of Democrats, including state representatives John Fritchey (District 11) and Sara Feigenholtz (District 12), physician Victor Forys, and Chicago City Council alderman Patrick J. O'Connor (40th Ward).

Pulido, a Mexican-American and director of the Illinois Minuteman Project, won the Republican Party's primary with 25% of the vote. She defeated a handful of local businessmen, including Tom Hanson, David Anderson, Gregory Bedell, Daniel S. Kay, and Jon Stewart.

Reichel, a 27-year-old activist and political operative, won the Green Party's primary with 34% of the vote. He defeated four other candidates for the party's nomination. Reichel's margin of victory over fellow Green Party nominee Deb Gordils was extremely small—only 11 votes. Reichel won with 166 compared to Gordils' 155.

Nearly a month after the primaries, the three candidates took part in the April 7 special general election. Democratic Party candidate Michael Quigley defeated Republican Party candidate Rosanna Pulido and Green Party candidate Matt Reichel. Quigley won with 30,561 votes (69.2%); Pulido had 10,662 (24.2%) and Reichel had 2,911 (6.6%).[5]

The election did not receive a great deal of coverage, due to the district's heavy Democratic lean. The Republican Party did not put up a top-tier candidate, acknowledging that they were not even focusing on the race[6] This is highlighted in the fact that the Republican nominee was the founder of an anti-illegal-immigration group, running in a district that is one-quarter Hispanic.[6] The real fight was for the Democratic nomination, which would almost assure being elected to Congress. In fact, over 12,000 more votes were cast in the Democratic Primary than there were in the general election.


General election

Illinois's 5th Congressional District Special Election, 2009[7]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Michael Quigley 30,561 69.2%
Republican Rosanna Pulido 10,662 24.2%
Green Matt Reichel 2,911 6.6%
Turnout 44,134
Majority 19,899 45.1%
Democratic hold Swing

Primary elections

Democratic Party primary

Democratic Primary, Illinois's 5th Congressional District Election, 2009[8]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Michael Quigley 12,100 22%
Democratic John Fritchey 9,813 18%
Democratic Sara Feigenholtz 9,166 17%
Democratic Victor Forys 6,415 12%
Democratic Patrick J. O'Connor 6,371 12%
Democratic Charles Wheelan 3,672 7%
Democratic Tom Geoghegan 3,336 6%
Democratic Paul Bryar 1,111 2%
Democratic Jan Donatelli 890 2%
Democratic Frank Annunzio 750 1%
Democratic Cary Capparelli 713 1%
Democratic Carlos Monteagudo 519 1%

Republican Party primary

Republican Primary, Illinois's 5th Congressional District Election, 2009[8]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Rosanna Pulido 1,001 25%
Republican Tom Hanson 855 21%
Republican David Anderson 711 18%
Republican Gregory Bedell 663 17%
Republican Daniel Kay 379 10%
Republican Jon Stewart 368 9%

Green Party primary

Green Primary, Illinois's 5th Congressional District Election, 2009[8]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Green Matt Reichel 166 34%
Green Deb Gordils 155 32%
Green Mark Fredrickson 71 14%
Green Alan Augustson 62 13%
Green Simon Ribeiro 37 8%


Democratic Party candidates

  • Frank Annunzio (
  • Paul Bryar (
  • Cary Capparelli (
  • Jan H. Donatelli (
  • campaign website), State representative
  • Victor Forys (
  • author
  • Carlos Monteagudo (social entrepreneur
  • Roger Thompson (

Republican Party candidates

  • campaign website), State Director of the Illinois Minuteman Project
  • David Anderson (campaign website), chemist and small business owner
  • Gregory Bedell (campaign website), attorney and lecturer on U.S. constitutional law
  • Tom Hanson (campaign website), businessman who ran against Emanuel in 2008 and received 49,000 votes
  • Daniel S. Kay (campaign website), businessman
  • Jon Stewart (Illinois's 10th district

Green Party candidates

  • journalist (formerly candidate for the Democratic nomination)
  • Mark Arnold Fredrickson (financial analyst (2004 Democratic primary candidate)
  • Deb Leticia Gordils (businesswoman, (2003 33rd Ward Chicago aldermanic candidate)
  • Simon Ribeiro (private tutor

Other candidates


Election information

  • Candidate filing search Illinois State Board of Elections, list of candidates with the current status of each
  • Chicago Tribune
  • Chicago Sun-Times
  • Pupovac, Jessica Race is on for Rahm's seat, and it's filled with political newcomers, Chicago Journal, January 5, 2009, includes photos of candidates
  • Chicago Elections Wiki
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