Congressional candidate Rosanna Pulido
isn`t exactly a dead ringer for Jefferson Smith, Jimmy Stewart
`s character in Frank Capra`s 1939 classic "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington."
Like Smith, Chicagoan Pulido hasÂ plenty of fire in her belly, but that`sÂ where any similarity ends.Â There is none of the na??vet?©Â shown by SmithÂ early in the filmÂ asÂ PulidoÂ strives to sell her message of "common sense" to the residents of Illinois` 5th Congressional District
who, until recently, had been represented by Rahm Emanuel
, President BarackÂ Obama`s chief of staff.Â She is among 26Â candidates vying for Emanuel`s seat in a March 3 primary.Â A special election will be held April 7.
Born and raised in the district she hopes to represent, Pulido, who is of Mexican descent,Â is noÂ stranger to theÂ political maneuveringÂ one encounters when it comes to major issuesÂ that have beenÂ dividing Americans for decades:Â abortion (she`s pro-life)Â andÂ the 2nd Amendment (she favors gun ownership).Â She `s also been active in the areas of veteransÂ care and seniors issues, and she opposes same sex marriage."I`mÂ not beholden to either party
,"Â says Pulido, who is running on the GOP ticket.Â She said she preferred to run as an independent, but the Chicago Democratic Machine
has made it difficult to stray from the two-party system.Â Pulido says in ChicagoÂ independent candidatesÂ mustÂ gather 1,700 signatures on their petitionsÂ compared with theÂ 319 signatures she needed."I`ve done all my own leg work and used my own money," Pulido says.Â "I`m not afraid to knock on doors. My job is to give the voters what they want - the truth."
The one issue that has put Pulido in the public eye is her tireless effort to educate Illinoisans about theÂ illegal immigration crisis in her state.Â She was among the first of the Minutemen to visit this country`sÂ border with Mexico in April 2005 and is founder of the Illinois Minuteman Project.Â She`s also the Chicago representative for "You Don`t Speak for Me,"
a national organization of Hispanic-Americans opposed to illegal immigration."Donâ€™t get me started,"
she says on her web site. "Illegal immigration is not a victimless crime. It hurts American workers and legal immigrants. It hurts the taxpayers of Illinois to the tune of 3.5 BILLION dollars a year. We must give American workers a break and demand that every business uses E-Verify which allows businesses to check if their potential employee is legal to work in the United States."
Political campaigns, especially those carried out inÂ freezing temperatures and on shoestring budgets,Â require great stamina and a sense of humor to deal with the unexpected.Â InÂ Pulido`s case, the unexpectedÂ cameÂ from Joshua Hoyt,
Illinois` leading anarchist andÂ apologist for illegal aliens, who late last month challenged
most of the signatures Pulido had submitted and calling her
a "bitter personal failure"
and a "cynical bully."
Hoyt also talked out of the other side of his mouth when he noted in his challengeÂ that "we are a nation of laws."
However, the Cook County Clerk`s Office Feb. 5 ruled in favor of Pulido
."We are just glad that the democratic process prevailed, providing more choice for voters,"
Pulido says.Â "We look forward to running a strong, common sense campaign for the people of the 5th District."