‘David vs. Goliath’ in 13th Ward? Or ‘Trump guy’ vs. Madigan’s ‘General’?

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David Krupa, left, and Ald. Marty Quinn, right. Campaign photos.

A 19-year-old college freshman is painting his battle to unseat Ald. Marty Quinn — who shares a Southwest Side office with Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan and runs the powerful Democrat’s legislative races — as a “David vs. Goliath” battle.

But it may as well be called “David vs. The General,” the name colleagues have given Quinn for masterminding pivotal legislative races that helped Madigan hang onto his Democratic majority in Springfield.

The 13th Ward race has been littered with lawsuits, accusations of “strong-arm tactics” and fliers about everything from President Donald Trump to an old girlfriend’s vacated order of protection.

Quinn faces David Krupa, who is studying political science and economics at DePaul University and works part-time for FedEx. Krupa says the Southwest Side ward is “a bit like a communist government because there’s only one option on the ballot every election.”

“People are manipulated through city services and city muscle to support political candidates, even though they may not actually support the candidates,” Krupa said, adding he’s received “death threats” since deciding to run.

Speaker Mike Madigan, left, and Ald. Marty Quinn, right. From <a href="http://www.madigan-quinn.com/" rel="nofollow">http://www.madigan-quinn.com/</a>

Speaker Mike Madigan, left, and Ald. Marty Quinn, right. From http://www.madigan-quinn.com/

Krupa documented those allegations in a federal lawsuit that portrays Madigan’s 13 Ward Regular Democratic Organization as an army of bullies “strong-arming and intimidating” Krupa and the voters who signed his nominating petitions. Madigan in a statement branded the suit a “blatant defamation of me and Ald. Quinn.” He also said Chicago voters have “seen this highly political tactic before.”

Krupa has since filed a $4 million defamation lawsuit against the Chicago Teachers Union, arguing a 13th Ward resident, and teacher, wrote a note to ward residents that accused Krupa of cyberbullying and cyberstalking. Krupa has called those claims “false” and “defamatory.”

But despite his role as an anti-Madigan candidate, Krupa says he’s never met or spoken with the powerful speaker: “No. I saw him in a hallway once, and he waved to me.”

Quinn says he’s proud of what he’s done for the ward within the past eight years, citing educational and economic improvements, such as the upcoming opening of an $80 million selective enrollment high school in the ward and the opening of a $4 million Lou Malnati’s.

“The last thing we want is for people to move to the suburbs. We want the Southwest Side to be the most attractive place, and I’ve always said it’s the best kept secret in the city of Chicago,” Quinn said.

In an interview with the Sun-Times, Quinn steered clear of much of the controversy Krupa has tried to tie him to. On whether voters might be disenchanted by the Democratic machine and vote against him, Quinn said he’s focused on helping his constituents, and nothing else.

“If someone calls me, I’ll return their call in person at their house, and that’s all that really matters,’ Quinn said. “I know that at the end of the day I show up every day looking to service my constituents, and I think the residents of the 13th Ward have really come to enjoy that sort of collaboration with my office and the taxpayers.”

Quinn said “only time will tell for certain” if Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s millions in ads and mailers targeting Madigan fostered an anti-speaker sentiment that will influence voters.

“That particular narrative has been tested, and it has failed. So to the extent that’s going to be the narrative, it doesn’t seem to me a narrative that is going to warrant a result that’s positive,” Quinn said. “When you throw that amount of money on an initiative and then fail as miserably as they did, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. But I’m not in their campaign. I’m not reviewing their polling.”

And Quinn said his world hasn’t changed since corruption charges hit Ald. Ed Burke (14th) and others in the City Council.

“For me there’s no change because I conduct myself always in a very businesslike manner and I don’t, I don’t have social relationships with aldermen,” Quinn said. “So there’s no change. I go down to City Council. I go to my committee meetings. I go to meetings, and I come back and I knock on doors. That’s my day.”

Quinn called Krupa’s lawsuits a way to “distract voters.

“This is an old program that the Republicans like to do, is to run into court to try to distract voters,” Quinn said.

Quinn has filled residents’ mailboxes with fliers blasting Krupa as “the Trump guy,” “just another Trump Bobblehead,” and a “Day-One Trump supporter.” One shows Krupa wearing a Make America Great Again cap and Trump T-shirt above the headline “David Krupa is crazy for Trump.”

Marty Quinn mailer attacking David Krupa.

Marty Quinn mailer attacking David Krupa.

Krupa says he’s an independent, who at one point supported Donald Trump during his presidential run. At 19, he’s only voted once, and would not disclose which party he voted for. He said it’s too early to know whether he’ll support Trump in the 2020 election: “I would vote for the best person regardless of the party.”

Krupa said allegations detailed in a 2017 emergency order of protection filed by an ex-girlfriend’s father —which claimed stalking and harassment, among other allegations — are “false.” The order was vacated by a judge, and Krupa claims there was “no proof.”

David Krupa ad. From Facebook

David Krupa ad. From Facebook

“It was just false allegations that were filed against me,” Krupa said, adding, the victim was “having some personal issues and some family issues, and her father didn’t think she was able to handle a relationship at that time.”

The victim, however — quoted in a University of Chicago publication this week — said she agreed with her parents that an emergency order of protection was needed and that she was afraid of seeing Krupa when it was filed.


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