Kelly Cassidy

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Kelly Cassidy

Illinois, State Representative (2011-)

A former staffer for Illinois Senate President John Cullerton and program director for the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, Cassidy was appointed State Representative to replace Harry Osterman when he was elected 48th Ward Alderman in April 2011.

Mid-term replacements for State Representative are decided by weighted vote for each party committeemen (the party of the out-going official selects the replacement) and more than 50% of the vote in Osterman's district was in the 48th Ward, leaving the decision effectively to 48th Ward Democratic Committeeman Carol Ronen, who supported Cassidy. Other Committeemen, but still a minority share, supported Chicago Department of Aging official, Paula Basta. Immediately following Cassidy's appointment, Basta declared her intention to challenger her in 2012.

The Cassidy-Basta race, other than mirroring many other Chicago political grudge matches, was unique for one reason: both Basta and Cassidy were openly gay. Otherwise, their politics were almost mirror images of one another, with each campaign attempting to find daylight between them, mostly based on neighborhood affiliations.

Cassidy ultimately won the race by a wide margin, and since then has not been seriously challenged on the ballot.

Her partner is Kelly Quinn, one-time Director of Communications for Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Important Political Events

  • 2011, Appointed State Representative by Democratic Ward Committeemen, replacing Harry Osterman
  • 2012, Elected State Representative, defeating Paula Basta