Chicago. (ONN) North side Chicago residents, as well as many of the surrounding suburbs, will be offered a rare choice for the March 15 Primary Election. Voters will have three political party ballots to choose from instead of the typical two. That’s because the Green Party of Chicago has not only achieved major party status in the 5th Congressional District, but it has a contested Primary for its seat in Congress.

Major Party Status in CD-5

Two years ago, Green Party candidate Nancy Wade – who we endorsed at the Illinois Herald – garnered enough votes in her bid for Congress to qualify the Illinois Greens as a major party in her 5th US Congressional District. CD-5 covers much of the far north and northwest sides of Chicago, as well as many of the surrounding north, northwest, and western suburbs. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) currently represents the District in the US House.

Thanks to Wade’s success, and the accompanying major party status, Green Party candidates need only collect a few dozen petition signatures to place a candidate on the ballot. Other independents and third party candidates must still collect roughly 15,000. The best part, at least for the Greens, is that every Primary voter in the 5th Congressional District will be offered three ballots when they enter their polling place – Democrat, Republican, and Green. That kind of official recognition and state-funded promotion is worth its weight in gold.

2016 Contested Green Primary

At the beginning of the 2016 Primary season, it appeared there may be four candidates vying for the Green Party nomination for Congress in IL CD-5. But 2012 and 2014 nominee Nancy Wade declined to run again. Candidate Richard Mayers was challenged and had his name removed from the March 15 ballot. That leaves two candidates, and one of those doesn’t even live in the District and isn’t eligible to hold the office.

The last man standing, literally, is Warren Grimsley of Chicago. Rob Sherman, a local Green Party leader and the man infamously credited with kicking a host of third party Presidential candidates off the 2012 Illinois Ballot, is also still listed. But as the Chicago Sun Times pointed out in its own endorsement of Grimsley this week, Rob Sherman doesn’t live in the District.

Warren Grimsley for Congress

If Warren Grimsley’s Primary campaign is any indication, he is going to be a formidable opponent against incumbent Congressman Mike Quigley. There are currently no Republicans listed on the ballot for the office. But the Illinois GOP may insert a new candidate in time for the November General Election just as it did two years ago. Otherwise, the Green’s Grimsley may find himself in the enviable position of a one-on-one race with a fairly unpopular US Representative.

“Citizens, the time has come for an insurgency against the status quo in Washington,” Warren Grimsley says on his campaign website, “Our system is failing. Politicians today answer not to the people that elected them, but to corporations or other big money players. We must demand that our voices be heard, our protests seen and our sacred votes honored. We must rally to show solidarity. To support progress, vote Green.”

Possibly the most contemptuous issue in the campaign will be Rep. Quigley’s support for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP trade deal, according to its opponents, will continue transferring American jobs to third world countries for cheaper labor, sometimes even slave labor. It will also transfer some of America’s sovereignty to a world body made up of corporations overseeing the rules of the TPP agreement.

Without mentioning his opponent by name, Warren Grimsley says, “As you know, fast-track authority for the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement) has passed the Congress, giving President Obama authority to present a complicated, previously secret agreement to Congress for its up or down vote. No amendments to the agreement will be allowed. The current puppet for the one percent who is in office in the 5th District is in favor of the poisonous TPP.”