The governor's office announced that a special primary election would be held on March 3 and special general election would be held on April 7. State law requires the governor to set a date for a congressional special election within five days of a vacancy being created. State law mandates that a general election must be held within 115 days of the vacancy. In an effort to cut costs and help save money, the date of the special general election coincided with municipal elections scheduled in Chicago, Cook County, and surrounding metropolitan areas.
There were 24 candidates representing three political parties in the March 3 special primary election. The Democrats had 13 candidates; the Republicans had six candidates; and the Greens had five candidates.
Pulido, a Mexican-American and director of the Illinois Minuteman Project, won the Republican Party's primary with 25% of the vote. She defeated a handful of local businessmen, including Tom Hanson, David Anderson, Gregory Bedell, Daniel S. Kay, and Jon Stewart.
Reichel, a 27-year-old activist and political operative, won the Green Party's primary with 34% of the vote. He defeated four other candidates for the party's nomination. Reichel's margin of victory over fellow Green Party nominee Deb Gordils was extremely small—only 11 votes. Reichel won with 166 compared to Gordils' 155.
Nearly a month after the primaries, the three candidates took part in the April 7 special general election. Democratic Party candidate Michael Quigley defeated Republican Party candidate Rosanna Pulido and Green Party candidate Matt Reichel. Quigley won with 30,561 votes (69.2%); Pulido had 10,662 (24.2%) and Reichel had 2,911 (6.6%).
The election did not receive a great deal of coverage, due to the district's heavy Democratic lean. The Republican Party did not put up a top-tier candidate, acknowledging that they were not even focusing on the race This is highlighted in the fact that the Republican nominee was the founder of an anti-illegal-immigration group, running in a district that is one-quarter Hispanic. The real fight was for the Democratic nomination, which would almost assure being elected to Congress. In fact, over 12,000 more votes were cast in the Democratic Primary than there were in the general election.