A student at DePaul University decided to run for political office this year. He set his sights on an alderman seat in Chicago which hasn’t been challenged since 1991.

He soon learned that the Chicago machine wasn’t going to give up its power easily, even if that meant resorting to fraud.

John Kass reports at the Chicago Tribune:

A college kid running for 13th Ward alderman gets a lesson in the Chicago Way

It’s overkill of epic proportions, like using a sledgehammer to kill a gnat, or firing off a nuclear weapon to kill a sparrow. A Southwest Side David vs. Goliath story.

The David is David Krupa, 19, a freshman at DePaul University who drives a forklift part time. He’s not a political powerhouse. He’s just a conservative Southwest Side teenager studying political science and economics who got it in his head to run for alderman in a race that pits him against the most powerful ward organization in Chicago.

The Goliath is the 13th Ward Democratic Organization run by House Speaker Michael J. Madigan, aka Boss Madigan, the most powerful politician in the state. Boss Madigan has long hand-picked his aldermen. He likes them loyal and quiet. The current silent alderman of the 13th Ward is Marty Quinn.

Krupa did what he was supposed to do to get on the ballot. Then the machine undid it all:

To get on the ballot, Krupa was required to file 473 valid signatures of ward residents with the Chicago Board of Elections. Krupa filed 1,703 signatures.

But before he filed his signatures with the elections board, an amazing thing happened along the Chicago Way.

An organized crew of political workers — or maybe just civic-minded individuals who care about reform — went door to door with official legal papers. They asked residents to sign an affadavit revoking their signature on Krupa’s petition.

Just so we’re clear, this was reportedly done fraudulently:

“We turned in 1,703 signatures. We compared them to the 2,796 revocations, and found only 187 matches, meaning only 187 people who signed David’s petitions filed revocations,” Dorf said. “So, what about the 2,609 people who didn’t sign for David but who filed revocations? That’s fraud. That’s perjury. That’s felony.”

Mike Krauser of WBBM Radio has more on this:

Teen Aldermanic Candidate Says ‘800 Pound Elephant’ Trying To Crush Him

Krupa is challenging 13th Ward Alderman Marty Quinn.

The 13th Ward is home to Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan and his 13th Ward democratic political organization.

Krupa said the number of people who signed affidavits saying they wanted to revoke their signatures on his petitions far exceeded the number of signatures he collected. By more than 2,000. And the challenges were filed before his petitions were.

Krupa said opposition political operatives were pounding the pavement and pressuring people sign affidavits revoking their signatures, whether they signed his petitions or not.

“I think they told their precinct captains, ‘go out there and get as many of these things as you can by any means necessary,’ and sometimes that means lying to people,” Krupa said.

“We filed 1,1703 signatures, but the revocations alone that they filed, before we even filed our petitions, numbered at 2,796, and out of that number only 187 are actually out of our petitions.”

Krupa’s attorney, Michael Dorf, calls it “massive, epic fraud.”

Where are all the Democrats who so frequently emphasize the importance of young people getting involved in politics? It looks like that commitment has some limits, namely not interfering in districts where Democrats have a nearly permanent hold on power.

Here’s a video report on Krupa’s candidacy by NBC 5 in Chicago:

Featured image is a screencap of NBC 5 Chicago video.