The Chicago Way

This kid ran for alderman to make a statement. His opponent was one of strongman Mike Madigan’s loyal storm troopers. Madigan is the most powerful man in the state. Insurgents are dealt with quickly and permanently.

A college kid running for 13th Ward alderman gets a lesson in the Chicago Way

The history of the little guy being squashed by massive Chicago political clout at election time is just too long to print without weeping.

But the story for today is so amazing that some Chicago election officials have never seen the like.

The Goliath is the 13th Ward Democratic Organization run by House Speaker Michael J. Madigan, aka Boss Madigan, the most powerful politician in the state. Boss Madigan has long hand-picked his aldermen. He likes them loyal and quiet. The current silent alderman of the 13th Ward is Marty Quinn.

Yes, I do know the neighborhood. For decades, my father and uncle ran a family supermarket in the 13th Ward, at 58th and Pulaski. We’d cash paychecks without charging a check-cashing fee. On government paycheck days, the line of city, county and state workers would ring around the store, for hours upon hours, thousands of them.

To get on the ballot, Krupa was required to file 473 valid signatures of ward residents with the Chicago Board of Elections. Krupa filed 1,703 signatures.

But before he filed his signatures with the elections board, an amazing thing happened along the Chicago Way.

An organized crew of political workers — or maybe just civic-minded individuals who care about reform — went door to door with official legal papers. They asked residents to sign an affadavit revoking their signature on Krupa’s petition.

More than 2,700 revocations were turned over to the elections board to cancel the signatures on Krupa’s petitions. Chicago Board of Elections officials had never seen such a massive pile of revocations.

“The board has received a few revocations here and there in very rare electoral board cases over the years,” said election board spokesman Jim Allen.

But more than 2,700? Impossible, no?

The number of revocations far exceeds the number of signatures Krupa collected. That means false affidavits were filed with the elections board.

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