Most of the national press attention on Chicago is focused on the crowded race Feb. 26 to succeed retiring Mayor Rahm Emmanuel.
But the contest in the Windy City that is increasingly dubbed "the second most-watched" is that for Alderman in Ward 13. In large part, the growing attention on this race is due to the spirited and very unique challenger to Alderman Marty Quinn: David Krupa, a 19-year-old DePaul University student.
"Quinn is a puppet of [all-powerful state House Speaker] Mike Madigan, pure and simple," Krupa told Newsmax between campaign stops last week, "and the way to eventually stop Madigan is to begin by stopping Quinn."
Krupa, who is majoring in economics and political science at DePaul, has grown increasingly incensed at the power of Democrat Madigan — who has wielded the gavel in the state House of Representatives for all but two of the past 36 years.
"And it's been Madigan's record of passing taxes and fees that have resulted in the exodus of people and business from Illinois and the lack of economic growth," Krupa said.
Krupa spoke to us days before a federal court affidavit revealed the FBI secretly recorded Madigan in 2014 pitching his law firm's business to a developer who wanted to build a hotel in Chicago's Chinatown.
Although races for Chicago mayor and the Board of Aldermen are nonpartisan, Republican Jeanne Ives — a conservative who barely lost the primary for governor last year — has weighed in strongly to raise money for Krupa. Krupa himself insists he is "neither Republican nor Democrat but a true outsider."
So far, the Krupa campaign has raised $30,000, almost all in small donations.
Rather than simply telling voters a vote for him is a way to express anger toward Madigan, Krupa offers a fresh agenda: lowering the city's property and water taxes; "untying the Police Department's hands" from regulations; and monthly meetings with officials in his ward "to just see how that that $1.3 million each of the wards get for infrastructure is used."
In many ways, Krupa follows a tradition in Chicago that is more than a century old — that of the reformer who challenges the political establishment. Harold Ickes, famed as FDR's secretary of the interior, began his career as a "reform Republican" fighting the Democratic machine in Chicago. Ben Adamowski, former prosecutor and Democrat-turned-Republican, gave the late Mayor Richard J. Daley the race of his career in 1963.
Now there is Krupa, taking on Quinn and — by association — Madigan. Three days ago, the young insurgent filed a lawsuit alleging that Quinn, Madigan and their political allies engaged in "intimidation, harassment, and illegal tactics against [Krupa] to get him to withdraw from the race.
"Just watch on Feb. 26," Krupa said. "I think you'll be reporting some surprises out here."
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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