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College student running for GOP ward post, hoping to pit Republican ‘yin’ against Madigan’s ‘yang’

David Krupa, left; House Speaker Mike Madigan, right. File Photos.
David Krupa, left; House Speaker Mike Madigan, right. File Photos.
Provided; Rich Hein/Sun-Times

A Republican college sophomore who got clobbered in what he described as a “David vs. Goliath” aldermanic race against a member of the state’s most powerful Democrat’s ward organization is back for more.

But this time 20-year-old student David Krupa is seeking to set up a Republican beachhead in state House Speaker Mike Madigan’s heavily Democratic 13th Ward.

After losing to Madigan’s handpicked alderman in February, Krupa, a student at DePaul University, filed paperwork this week to run for 13th Ward Republican Committeeperson in an effort to “chip away” at the longtime speaker’s power in the Southwest Side ward.

“I decided that there needed to be another presence besides Madigan’s Democratic Ward Organization here in the Southwest Side of Chicago, and it needed to be an organized presence,” Krupa said Wednesday of his decision. “I ran as an independent for alderman, but I think we’re going to need more than just independent thinkers, and we’re going to need an organization behind us.”

David Krupa, left, shakes hands with David Shestokas of The Heartland Institute.
David Krupa, left, shakes hands with David Shestokas, a policy advisor for conservative and libertarian think tank The Heartland Institute.
Provided photo

So far, Krupa faces no opposition in the GOP race. Madigan filed Monday to run for Democratic committeeperson in the ward, a position he has held for decades. The party posts, which previously had been called “ward committeemen,” are unpaid political positions that provide a voice on their parties’ county party organizations.

A spokesman for Madigan did not immediately return a request for comment.

Krupa says his run for the party position is partly to build up a Republican presence in the speaker’s ward. He says Madigan has installed people into Republican posts in the past, including the 13th Ward Republican Committeperson spot, to allow him to “control both sides.”

“When one man controls both sides of the field nothing gets done — nothing good gets done,” Krupa said. “You need that yin and yang. I just want to set a precedent for showing that it’s not OK for Madigan to control positions in both parties. There are many Republicans in Chicago and in Illinois who are beholden to Madigan and that’s not OK.”

Earlier this year, Krupa tried to oust Ald. Marty Quinn (13th), who’s called “The General” by his colleagues for serving as the architect behind key legislative races that have helped Madigan hang onto his Democratic majority in Springfield.

Quinn beat Krupa, 86% to 14%.

That race brought on what Krupa described as an onslaught of “strong-arm tactics” and intimidation that Krupa alleged in a federal lawsuit.

Krupa hasn’t ruled out another run for alderman, but says for now his goal is to provide a check on Madigan’s power.

“We need to start checking his power because right now he has free reign,” Krupa said. “I want to liberate the Republican Party from Madigan control.”