CHICAGO (CBS) — In next month’s Illinois Primary, voters in one Chicago neighborhood have a choice to make that could be historic should they nominate a Muslim candidate, an immigrant from India to run for the state legislature.
CBS 2’s Mike Parker reports two men facing off in next month’s Democratic primary for state representative in Chicago’s 40th District on the Northwest Side. They’re both running as independents, unbeholden to the existing Springfield power in the house.
The incumbent is Rep. Jaime Andrade.
“Mike Madigan, I don’t even see him that much myself,” Andrade said. “I concentrate on knocking on doors, concentrate on going door-to-door and meeting with my residents.”
The challenger is Harish Patel.
“I am running both as an independent, progressive Democrat and it does mean that I’m not going to be controlled by every vote by the speaker of the house,” he said.
But Patel, if he wins, would become the first ever Muslim member of the legislature. He is an immigrant from India.
When asked about Islamaphobia, Patel said, “When I came to this country, I felt really welcomed…Yes there is this extreme hate that you see all around but the majority of the people are not that. Majority of the people are welcoming.”
Andrade says he didn’t know until recently that Patel was Muslim. He says if one if his constituents were to tell him they won’t vote for a Muslim, he would reply, “Do you know I am an immigrant myself? That has nothing to do with our issues here.”
Harish Patel, Andrade hopes his opponent is right.
“People can work with me,” he said. “It’s not something that they think of as my first identity.”
Chicago votes on March 15.