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updated: 3/13/2014 5:47 PM

Two Democrats running in 20th House primary

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  • Mo Khan

      Mo Khan

 
 

Democratic voters in Illinois' 20th House District will see two names on the ballot, both of them new to politics.

The candidates are Mohammed "Mo" Khan, 28, of Park Ridge and Niles resident Jerry Acciari, a retired Lincolnwood police lieutenant.

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The winner on Tuesday, March 18 will face Republican state Rep. Michael McAuliffe of Chicago in the November general election.

McAuliffe, a 17-year incumbent, is currently the only elected Republican office holder in Chicago.

Khan, who was an aide to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign in 2007-2008 and worked for Alexi Giannoulias' U.S. Senate campaign in 2009-10, has been campaigning for the 20th House seat for months.

He enlisted the help of U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin for door-to-door canvassing and phone banking, and has secured money from donors in Chicago and the Washington, D.C. area.

However, he hasn't received any funds from the state Democratic Party, and says he is running an "independent" campaign.

Acciari has not responded to requests for comment, and did not fill out a Daily Herald candidate questionnaire. Attempts to reach him via the U.S. Postal Service also went unanswered. He did, however, fill out a candidate questionnaire for the Chicago Tribune.

All Khan says he knows about Acciari is that he signed Khan's nominating petitions.

Khan, who has an accounting degree from the University of Iowa and is currently a full-time law student at Loyola University, said his top priority is job creation. He favors a "comprehensive overhaul" of the state's tax incentive framework that he argues should provide incentives to entrepreneurs and startups instead of large companies who threaten to leave the state.

"I think there's something fundamentally wrong with that, where we're letting people hold us hostage, where if you don't give us tax breaks, we're going to leave," Khan said.

He said he differs with McAuliffe on several issues, including McAuliffe's positions against civil unions, same sex marriage and medical marijuana.

Khan also said he wouldn't have voted for pension reform legislation approved by lawmakers last December because he believes the legislation is unconstitutional.

Khan said he favors term limits for those in the General Assembly.

"I don't think anyone should go to Springfield to make it their career," Khan said. "If the President does eight years, I don't think anyone in the Illinois General Assembly should do more."

The 20th House District includes portions of Des Plaines, Rosemont, Park Ridge, Niles, Schiller Park, Norridge and Chicago's Northwest Side.

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