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In Illinois it's political season!

Just as we are taking down our holiday decorations, recycling our trees and preparing to send our kids back to school, a new season is breaking - Election season!

Thanks to state politico leaders taking advantage of Obama-mania, the primary falls on February 2nd. It's apparently a date chosen not so much to put Obama over the top two years ago, but to reduce voter turn out by asking people to come out on one of the coldest and winteriest day of the year. ""It is the bitterest, coldest, iciest day of the year to discourage people from voting," [Cook County Commissioner Forrest Claypool] said, calling Illinois' voting system "rigged." The election that matters most, he said, happens in the primary season, not November."

Normally not a lot is at stake during the primaries since there has been little competition for seats in the Chicago area. But there are a few races that are worth noting:

* Jesus "Chuy" Garcia trying to "evict Commissioner Joseph Mario Moreno, 57, from the seat he has held since 1995 on the Cook County Board."

*Rudy Lozano Jr. trying to "end the 19-year tenure of state Rep. Dan Burke, 58, in the Illinois House."

* The race for President Obama's Senate seat between IL Treasurer Alexi Giannolias (Obama's basketball buddy who needed Obama's endorsement to win his Treasurer seat), Cheryl Jackson (lone woman), David Hoffman (former City of Chicago Inspector General who blew the whistle on the rotten parking meter sale) and a few other Dems. Smart money is on Alexi because well, he has all the money. Then we have the GOP where U.S. Rep Mark Kirk is the smart bet. I have to be honest that I have no idea who I will support in the primary and if it's Alexi versus Mark in the general, oy...tough call. I'm not a party gal so I'm not always voting for the Dem. I'll hash it out once we get to that point. But...

* The Illinois Green Party has slated LeAlan M. Jones for the U.S. Senate. I love the idea of a black man from Englewood being my Senator.

The first two races I don't get to vote on, which is a shame. I definitely believe that we need new voices in our political system. Rudy's passion, at least on Facebook, is endearing.

But this is Chicago and in February who knows what will or can happen. Other than the machine winning yet again.

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