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CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 8

To find Jimmy Joe Biggerstaff's political base, just pick up the latest newsletter of the Disston Heights Civic Neighborhood Association.

"Don't Forget! Our candidate won!" shouts the front-page box. It also points out that Biggerstaff is the only candidate endorsed by the group.

Next to the box is the "President's Message" _ from Biggerstaff.

"I couldn't have done it without your support," he solemnly states.

Actually, to keep the record straight, Biggerstaff finished second in the Feb. 25 primary election. Opponent John "Jay" Lasita took the top spot. Still, second place was good enough to lift Biggerstaff into the March 25 general election.

The candidates have been scrapping ever since.

"It seems to be heating up a little bit," Lasita says.

The two survivors emerged from a crowded field of six that jostled one another for weeks trying to gain some recognition with voters. Lasita (pronounced La-SEE-ta) got a boost from some key endorsements and from ties made during earlier political campaigns in which he had worked. Biggerstaff relied on his ties to the neighborhood association, the city's largest.

In the aftermath, community activist and campaign also-ran Lorraine Compton threw her support to Lasita. Local businessman Gary Clausen and accountant Michael Hajek, who also missed the electoral cut, endorsed Biggerstaff.

Both candidates clearly enjoyed the new support, but they didn't stop there. The local Police Benevolent Association had endorsed Compton, so when she lost, Lasita and Biggerstaff eagerly sought that support.

Compton has become increasingly active in efforts to push prostitutes and drug dealers from the sidewalks and motels along the 34th Street Street N corridor. It was that grass-roots work that helped her gain the PBA's recognition in the first place.

Biggerstaff also continues to deploy his yard signs, a primary campaign tactic that appeared to serve him well. "This city is going to have my name all across it by a week from Tuesday like you wouldn't believe."

Lest anyone think that Biggerstaff's one-trick pony is his tie to Disston Heights, people attending the NAACP's candidate night in mid-March said he effectively described his credentials to the mostly black audience.

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