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  Dems hear from 16, fail to endorse one
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Last EditedImperator  Dec 16, 2012 10:24am
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CategoryNews
AuthorRick Pearson
MediaNewspaper - Chicago Tribune
News DateSunday, December 16, 2012 04:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionDemocratic leaders spent four hours Saturday listening to 16 candidates audition for the party's endorsement to replace former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. but were unable to unite behind one contender.

After an additional 90 minutes of deliberations, South Side and south suburban committeemen voted for an "open primary" after Thornton Township Chairman Frank Zuccarelli failed to win a majority of the weighted vote on behalf of veteran state Sen. Donne Trotter of Chicago.

The special primary election is scheduled for Feb. 26, and given the strong Democratic makeup of the new district, it is tantamount to deciding the office. The general election is scheduled for April 9.

The slating event at times drew more than 100 people into a small meeting room, including several of the district's municipal officials, plenty of political operatives, and Cook County Commissioner William Beavers, who awaits trial on federal charges.

Trotter, who spoke the longest, nearly 40 minutes, said he was uniquely qualified for the job based on 24 years in the state legislature, including his longtime role as the state Senate Democratic point man on state budget issues. He also contended he would be able to step quickly into a job that has been largely vacant since Jackson left Congress on a medical leave in June. Jackson resigned the seat last month.

"I can fill that six-month void that, unfortunately, we've had since June, since we've had an active voice in Washington, D.C.," Trotter said.

But Trotter got an earful from Will County Democratic Chairman Scott Pyles, who chastised the senator for not contacting him about his interest in the seat.
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