Friday, December 30, 2005

Thriller in Maywood: Yarbrough vs Welch

The recent round of pre-primary filing brought few surprises, but some state legislators will be facing unusual challengers, and others, none at all.

Emmanuel "Chris" Welch will oppose fellow Democrat Karen Yarbrough, a House incumbent. Welch, an enigmatic local figure, earned public disapproval when he sued blogger Carl Nyberg. Nyberg covers local politics and ethical lapses at Proviso Probe. Welch is chairman of the Proviso Township School Board. His brother, Billy Welch, drew headlines when he was indicted on drug-related charges earlier this year.

Esther Golar, a young community activist was appointed to the Illinois House after the resignation of Rep Patricia Bailey( and has filed to run for it). Bailey was recently convicted of election fraud. She will face not one but six primary opponents to keep her seat.

Rep. Suzi Bassi has escaped a primary challenge. Bassi defeated Pat Sutarik in 2004 and could have faced conservative activist Tom Morrison in March. Bassi, a former teacher, is a respected and well-liked moderate Republican from Palatine.

Paul Rumler of Moline has filed to run in the Democratic primary against state sen Mike Jacobs. Jacobs was appointed to his seat after the retirement of his father, the ineffable Denny Jacobs. Rumler, an Illinois native, had worked for a US Representative and a member of the Massachusetts legislature.

Two like named candidates-David Koehler and David Williams-will face each other in the Democratic primary to succeed retiring sen George Shadid. Williams is chairman of the Peoria County Board and Koehler is the executive director of the Peoria Area Labor Council. Businessman Blair S Gambill was the only Republican to file and has the support of Senate minority leader Frank Watson. As expected, state Rep. Aaron Schock will seek re-election to the House. Schock, who upset incumbent Ricca Slone last year, was once thought interested in "moving up."

Randy Hultgren will run unopposed in the GOP primary for the 48th senate seat, which Peter Roskam will vacate in his congressional run. At one time, Joe Dunn, who represents some of the district in the House, was considered a possible contender.

Lisa Hernandez has filed to run against first term rep Michelle Chavez in the Democratic primary. Chavez was elected last year in an upset of Republican Frank Agulair. Hernandez works for lieutenant governor Pat Quinn.

Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie has a primary opponent in Sharon Latiker. Currie, thought to be in declining health, is expected to retire in the next few years.

Bob Rita finds himself with not one but three primary opponents, one of whom calls himself "the coach." Rita has the Illinois House seat of legislator turned superstar sheriff candidate Tom Dart.

As expected, lawyer Franco Coladipietro filed in the House primary against first term incumbent Roger Jenisch. Coladipietro has garnered support from Comptroller candidate Carole Pankau, who currently represents the district in the Illinois Senate. Jenisch has said that he thinks DuPage County Board chairman Bob Schillerstrom will stay in his corner.

Frank Crespo filed as a Democrat to oppose Rep Terry Parke. Crespo was a one time member of Paul Froelich's STARS, a local Republican group. Froelich is a colleague of Parke in the Illinois House, prompting criticism of him for disloyalty.

Bill O'Connor, chief of staff to minority leader Tom Cross was expected to file for a judgeship, but did not.

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