Monday, December 26, 2005

Oh, How the Mighty Have Fallen: Frias Looks to Re-enter Political Sphere

Ray Frias, who rose to fame-or infamy-as in the only Operation: Silver Shovel indictee to be acquitted, has filed to run in the Democratic primary against state senator (and HDO regular) Tony Munoz. Frias served one term(1992-1994) in the Illinois House of Reps, tarninshing his credentials(he is, in the words of pundit Russ Stewart, a "HDO loyalist") by supporting caps on medical malpractice damages. Frias narrowly lost a 2003 Council race, but, from 2000 to 2002, voted with the Mayor one hundred percent of the time(according to a UIC analysis, available here).

The loyalty of both Munoz and Frias will make the upcoming primary a difficult one for the HDO. Complicating the manner will be some of Frias's prior political shenanigans-namely his opponent of his brother to the House seat he vacated when elected to the City Council. Fernando Frias went on to lose to Sonia Silva-who, in turn, lost to Frias protege(and former aide) Susanna Mendoza. So, it could be said that Frias scored for the Mayor not once, but twice. Wrong. In 2002, Frias and Mendoza supported two Republican state legislative candidates-one of whom was opposing powerful Democratic state senator(and chairman of one of the Senate's Appropriations committees) Martin Sandoval. For the Mayor, at least, Munoz may seem the safer bet. He has served since 1998(when he upset Jesus Garcia, Daley foe and seminal Hispanic state senator)and has since been re-elected easily. However, Munoz's financial and political ties to George Prado and other dubious characters and doings could put an indictment on the solon's horizon and that may be the last thing this Mayor needs.

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