Sunday, September 13, 2009

19th Ward targets Madigan's legislative soft spots in February primary: Hickey goes after McCarthy

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Newly elected Orland Fire Protection District Trustee and home mortgage broker James P. Hickey apparently has shifted his focus from the Orland Fire Protection District and now its his political agenda that is apparently on the fast track. He has set aside the ambitious agenda he once set out to help improve the OFPD and has his sights on something bigger and better.

Hickey, who just won election to the OFPD, has his petitions on the street seeking nomination in the Democratic Primary against one of House Speaker Michael J. Madigan's stalwarts, Kevin McCarthy, who has represented the 37th District since 1997. (I haven't had a chance to speak with Hickey to find out if he is circulating them or if backers are trying to draft him.)

It's amazing how political egos go right to the top and public service goes right out the window in cases like this. Sources say Hickey is boasting, accurately, that his huge win in the OFPD race this past Spring shows how "powerful" he is.

Hickey's term in office at the controversy-plagued OFPD runs until 2015. I am not sure if this is some kind of twisted strategy to help Pat Maher -- who IS related to Orland Village Clerk David Maher (the Maher's are very sensitive to people claiming to be relatives as we saw recently) -- by fielding candidates and bringing out the Democratic vote in the 17th District where Maher apparently is running against Cook County Commissioner Liz Gorman? Maher has to first defeat Dr. Victor Forys who has a knack of raising huge funds. He did respectfully in the recent race for Rahm Emanuel's vacated Congressional seat which was won by independent County Commissioner Mike Quigley.

Are Maher and Hickey are working together? Their petitions are being circulated together. (Maher denies any knowledge of Hickey's candidacy and says emphatically he is supporting McCarthy. Read update?)

But maybe Hickey and Maher don't understand the Madigan powerhouse. The fact is Mike Madigan doesn't take challenges like this lightly. While I have hammered Madigan in the past, the fact is Madigan is tight with Gov. Pat Quinn who succeeded impeached former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Hickey is being backed by the 19th Ward which has its tentacles all over Orland Park and Orland Township and were rock-solid behind the candidacy of another recent victor, Paul O'Grady in the surprise Orland Township election victory.

But it's Hickey, a young recent entrant who has been fired up by his election victory who is promoting himself as the future of Orland Park and its ties to the 19th ward. (The Maher's, who backed Hickey, are related to 19th Ward honchoes including the one I have always admired the most, Tom Hynes. Hynes' son, Dan Hynes, now the Illinois Comptroller, is running for governor against Pat Quinn, Madigan's candidate.)

Is the Hickey candidacy a subtle message to Madigan from the 19th Ward because Madigan is not backing Hynes?

Madigan doesn't need any subtle messages. The guy is supremo when it comes to politics and strategy. You don't go up against him and expect to have a future in politics, if you are smart.

The protagonists will all be together at the Tinley Park parade today. Gorman has been invited by Tinley Mayor Ed Zabrocki to walk with his government officials. Maher is expected to be there and watch for Hickey's petitions to be circulating. 

Here's the vote turnout for the OFPD elections. Despite a big ego, Hickey barely won 50 percent of the district vote. Cindy Nelson Katsenes, a former OFPD trustee who has challenged Maher's rule there, came second.

James P. Hickey 3958 49.57%
Cynthia Nelson Katsenes 1539 19.28%
Robert K. Brennan 1119 14.02%
Christopher Ciciora 959 12.01%
John Jacobsma 409 5.12%

-- Ray Hanania

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