32nd Ward Alderman Scott Waguespack announced his intention to run for his ward’s Democratic Committeeman slot at his fundraiser last Friday night. Waguespack’s announcement is the most public display of a growing personal rift between the alderman and former ally and current 32nd Ward Democratic Committeeman, John Fritchey, also a Cook County Commissioner.
Election Day is March 20, 2012 and December 6 is the deadline to get on the 2012 ballot in Illinois.
Although Waguespack won reelection to Alderman handily last spring, the campaign was rife with rumors that Fritchey would endorse a Waguespack opponent, which Fritchey ultimately did not. And in 2008, the neighborhood rumor mill steadily circulated that Waguespack was supporting Fritchey opponent Roger Romanelli for Democratic Committeeman. Romanelli was thrown off the ballot before election day for petition irregularities.
“I think this race is more about Scott’s ego than me,” said Fritchey this morning. “Scott and people from the community knew my involvement in getting him elected [in 2007]. Almost immediately after that election he chose to sever ties.”
Both politicians style themselves as reformers. In 2007 then-State Rep. John Fritchey successfully allied himself with the relatively unknown Waguespack to defeat the vestiges of the 32nd Ward Democratic machine in the person of then-Ald. Ted Matlak.
Both have since proven their reformer credentials. Waguespack famously voted against the 2009 Chicago parking meter lease deal and this past spring Fritchey introduced County legislation that would abolish the politically-juicy Cook County Recorder of Deeds office. As the highest elected Democratic officials in their area, they now sometimes seem locked in a political death match.
“The only elected officials I haven’t had a good working relationship with have been [former Ald.] Ted Matlak and Scott Waguespack. So it’s kinda ironic,” said Fritchey.
Ald. Waguespack did not respond to requests for comment by publication.