It's game on in the "city of destiny" as Des Plaines' mayor says he's seriously considering a bid to unseat a long-term incumbent in the state House.
Mayor Marty Moylan said he's been "called by a lot of people including party leaders" to explore the idea of running for the new 55th House district against state Rep. Rosemary Mulligan, a Des Plaines Republican.
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"We've heard from both parties," Moylan, who would run as a Democrat, said. "They're fed up with the state of the current state legislator ...(they're) looking for new ideas and a new way."
Mulligan, in office since January 1993, shot back, calling Moylan "a little cocky" because of the city's new casino. "I don't know who's unhappy except for the people who want Moylan to win," she said.
Mulligan, a point person on budget and human service issues known for her sharp manner of debating on the House floor, was criticized about her absence from Springfield on several key votes after she developed breathing problems last session. Mulligan, 69, noted that she continued to work from home and, despite her illness, returned to the state Capitol in March to begin working on the budget.
Moylan served two years as a Ward 2 city alderman before being elected mayor in 2009. His mayoral term expires in April 2013. If he would ultimately be elected to the state House, Moylan said he plans to finish out his term as mayor but then devote his full attention to the General Assembly.
Moylan said he believes he has a strong reputation for keeping property taxes down, running the city openly and efficiently, and keeping jobs in the city.
"I think you see that the incumbent's been there for 20 years," Moylan said. "There's an anti-incumbency attitude right now."
But Mulligan said she has "a lot of support," including the backing of former Mayor Tony Arredia, as well as the statewide service employees' union and many hospital officials.
"I've been here a long time. I've lived in Des Plaines longer than he has," she said.
While Mulligan pointed to her experience as a senior member of her caucus, Moylan over the past few years has made numerous trips to Springfield to lobby against gambling expansion legislation that could hurt the profitability of Des Plaines' new casino.
"I have a really good sense of how the operation works," he said. The newly drawn 55th House District, drawn by lawmakers to reflect 2010 census figures, is more Democratic leaning than the current 65th House District that Mulligan represents. The new district features more of Democratic-leaning Des Plaines, and discards the wealthier, more Republican-trending areas of Park Ridge, and adds a portion of Hoffman Estates.