CHICAGO — It’s a David versus Goliath story in Chicago's 13th Ward, where 19-year-old college freshman David Krupa is running for alderman in an area whose politics are dominated by Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan.
"Right from the start we knew we were up against the most powerful man in Illinois," Krupa said.
Krupa is technically running against incumbent Alderman Marty Quinn, who is backed by Madigan. And while Krupa got more than triple the signatures needed to get on the ballot, he says someone went door-to-door in the Far Southwest Side ward to ask residents to sign forms revoking their support of his candidacy.
In total, 2,609 people said they rescinded their support of Krupa— around 1,000 more than signed on to support him in the first place.
"I think they were bullied, harassed. Some even strong-armed or intimidated," Krupa said.
Krupa is appealing the challenges in an effort to get on the ballot, and claimed victory Sunday after his first hearing in front of Board of Elections commissioners. Another hearing is set for Saturday. The DePaul freshman is studying political science and economics, but says this experience is teaching him more about politics than any class could.
"It’s not gonna stop me one bit from trying to expose the machine for what they are, and to expose them for what they’re capable of," Krupa said.
As the story has gained attention, Krupa says he’s received several threats on his life.
"Some say that they don’t want to see anything bad happen to me. Some say, 'you’re a nice kid. You’ve got a bright future. I don’t want to see you get hurt,'" Krupa said.
Still, Krupa says he will not back down, and will take this matter all the way to Federal court if necessary.
Neither Ald. Quinn nor Speaker Madigan commented on the issue when contacted by WGN.