Wacky Race to Fill Emanuel's Seat Wide Open

With 23 candidates in the running, it's still anyone's game
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 2, 2009 10:06 AM CST
Mike Quigley, seen here in a YouTube screenshot, won the endorsements of both the Tribune and the Sun-Times. With no party endorsement in play, that might make him a frontrunner.
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(Newser) – The race to replace Rahm Emanuel in the House is ridiculously wide open, the Wall Street Journal reports, with a whopping 23 candidates vying for his seat. That field will be winnowed tomorrow in a special simultaneous primary, but with the traditional kingmakers—the Democratic Party and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley—declining to endorse a candidate, it’s anyone’s guess who’ll emerge.

Six Republicans, five Green Party candidates, and a dozen Democrats are in the running, among them a slew of offbeat political newcomers, including a Polish-speaking doctor, an airline pilot, and a Cuban-born psychiatrist. Last week’s debate saw candidates shuffled on and off the stage, each given just four minutes to speak. “It’s like a Monty Python skit,” said one Democratic contender. “Please explain your plans for universal health care in one minute.”