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It is not official. We hope for a Hoskins comeback clawed from whatever few votes remain uncounted this Monday afternoon. But it seems most likely that Chris Welch will become the next state representative for the 7th District. And that is both discouraging and hopeful.

Discouraging because Chris Welch is a political hack with ambition to be a powerful political hack. He makes an ordinary hack like Gene Moore seem underappreciated. Welch represents all that is worst about Proviso Township – disdain for ordinary taxpayers who pay the freight for nepotism and insider dealing and receive abominable services for their money.

Hopeful because despite all his money – and Welch had bucketsful – despite all the twisted endorsements, such as teachers who endorsed the man running Proviso high schools into the ground, despite all his political alliances, such as Proviso mayors in lockstep, Chris Welch beat Forest Park’s Rory Hoskins by a puny 30 votes.

Rep. Welch, you won by a mere 30 votes!

Forest Parkers understood what was at stake in this election, as did River Forest residents. They read our coverage and Pioneer Press’ coverage, and the incessant Tribune editorial page coverage and they fled from the Welch stench. In those two communities Hoskins garnered roughly three-fourths of the votes.

Imagine if the majority of the Forest Park Village Council – Mayor Tony Calderone, Commissioner Mark Hosty, Commissioner Tom Mannix – had not cynically thrown in with Welch out of their petty dislike of fellow Commissioner Hoskins. That trio cost Hoskins well more than the 30 votes he needed to win by turning their political wing toward Welch.

But Forest Parkers, who will now be represented by Welch, are watching as their elected leaders rush to pull Forest Park into the vortex of Proviso’s dirty politics. They will, we predict, actively question the motivations of, in particular, their mayor.

We salute Rory Hoskins for the campaign he mounted, for the quiet dignity he brought to this effort. He did Forest Park proud.