Rahm Replacement Roulette

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Rahm Emanuel resigned to become President-elect Barack Obama's Cheif of Staff, opening the door for those that are itching to take his place in that coveted congressional seat.

    The first official campaign was launched Tuesday in what will be a long list of candidates hoping to fill Rahm Emanuel's Fifth Congressional District seat.

    "It's going to be a very crowded field and a spirited campaign," Sara Feigenholtz said in launching her campaign.

    After 14 years as state representative, Feigenholtz said she's ready for the new responsibility.

    "Know that I'm here for you and I will fight for you when I get to Congress," she said.

    Emanuel left the position to become President-elect Barack Obama's Cheif of Staff, opening the door for those that are itching to take his place in that coveted congressional seat.

    That list includes Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley, who is banking on his 10 years on the county board to help him get the seat.

    "These seats don't become open often," he said. "Before you start talking about what you'll do in Congress, it's about 'what have you done so far?'"

    Alderman Pat O'connor (40th) is another name said to be interested for running for Emanuel's seat. Some say he could be the man to get the Democratic Party endorsement, but Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley isn't quite ready to publicly give him that support.

    "I'm not endorsing anyone. We don't even know who the candidates are as yet.

    With Gov. Rod Blagojevich's scandal fresh, reform seems to be the chorus coming from the candidates.

    "I think we're in a very, very dark period in Illinois and I think we need to put ourselves beyond it," Feigenholtz said.

    But analyst Paul Green says the district's unique composition could make getting voters to listen to that talk difficult.

    "Right now, talk is cheap," Green said. "Because the district is, you know, not typical, you don't have a base black vote, you don't have a base Latino vote, you may not have a base any vote. So, someone's going to have to create a base."

    At this point, most will say that it's still anyone's race, and as many as 12 candidates have said they're interested in replacing Emanuel.

    It should be known who will be on the ballot by January 19, the last day candidates will be able to submit their petition signatures. The primary is March 3, with the general election on April 7.