Yesterday I noted that a few Chicago politicians had scored amazing seats for President Obama's inauguration. Today, I'll discuss who didn't get a seat at all.
Like hundreds of other Chicagoans, Cook County Board commissioner Mike Quigley flew his family into Washington to witness history. His daughters got to the inauguration earlier than he did and watched the speech from the mall. But by the time Quigley and his wife made it there, police were turning folks away.
"It was really crowded--they must have turned away 20,000 people, at least," says Quigley. So he and his wife "watched the inauguration from a little dive: a restaurant in Georgetown."
"It was a long trip for not a heck of a lot, but I have no complaints," he said. "My kids saw it--that's what matters. It was a great day for our country."
In many ways, Quigley's experience at the inauguration was symbolic of his standing in the March 3 Democratic primary to replace Rahm Emanuel as congressman of the Fifth District. Of all the elected officials in the race, Quigley is the most obvious reformer. His independent positions on taxes and spending make him the least likely to be supported by Mayor Daley, House speaker Michael Madigan, 36th Ward alderman William Banks or any other leaders of the machine.
If there's a bright spot for Quigley, it's this: He says his polls have him as the front-runner in the crowded Democratic field, just ahead of state representatives John Fritchey and Sara Feigenholtz. If he gets elected, he'll all but assure himself of a prime spot at the next inauguration.
Otherwise, he might need to ask Congressman Jackson for tips on grabbing a seat on the aisle.