The 5th's Chosen One

Trib, Sun-Times both back Quigley

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The papers' choice.

    Both the Tribune and the Sun-Times have made their endorsements in the Democratic primary race to replace Rahm Emanuel in Congress, and they've both picked the same candidate to back: Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley.

    Why?

    Let's take a look.

    "[Quigley] has an outstanding record of independent, reform-minded performance in office," the Tribune says. "Quigley has been a forceful, persistent critic of Cook County Board President Todd Stroger."

    Some of Quigley's opponents beg to differ, but that makes the Tribune editorial board's view all the more compelling, given that it has been the biggest critic of Cook County government for years.

    "Quigley has done exhaustive work on how county government could provide better health care and other services to people in far more efficient and cost-effective ways," the Trib says. "His reports on how to improve county government are without parallel in Illinois politics."

    Yes, but what kind of congressman would he be?

    "He will take that same laserlike focus on effective, efficient and compassionate government to Washington.

    "There is more to him than his work on government reform. Quigley has an outstanding record on human rights, health care and the environment. (The Reader said he’s 'arguably the greenest elected official in Chicago.') He has sound ideas on reviving the U.S. economy, on national health care, on how to put people back to work."

    Persuasive, but the Trib loses judgement points when it includes Ald. Patrick O'Connor on a list of other candidates they like. O'Connor is the opposite of how they describe Quigley; an unapologetic Machine pol. What gives?

    The Tribune also likes state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, and writes that "Public interest lawyer Tom Geoghegan and University of Chicago lecturer Charles Wheelan are raising the level of debate here."

    Not so much state Rep. John Fritchey.

    "Fritchey talks about reform, but voters really ought to take a look at how Fritchey deflected the hard questioning of Sen. Roland Burris during testimony at the now-infamous House impeachment committee hearing," the paper says.

    The Sun-Times has also endorsed Quigley -- while also praising Feigenholtz, Geoghegan and Wheelan.

    "[Quigley] has been a constant advocate for fiscal responsibility and a watchdog against waste and corruption," the Sun-Times says.

    But the Sun-Times is a little suspect when it writes, "What's more, he is independent of Mayor Daley." That's the same Mayor Daley the paper endorses time and time again. (And this is the same paper that endorsed . . . Todd Stroger.)

    Do newspaper endorsements matter? It depends on who you ask.

    If you asked Mike Quigley, he'd say yes (check out the home page of his campaign Web site).

    If you asked John Fritchey, whom, to be fair, we should remember was one of Rod Blagojevich's longest and most outspoken critics, you'd likely get a different answer.

    In the editorial endorsement sweepstakes, Quigley came up big twice. Fritchey crapped out.

    Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, which is leaning toward endorsing Geoghegan. You can subscribe to his NBCChicago.com RSS feed here.