A pro-gay Democrat handily won a special election held Tuesday to fill the seat that Rahm Emanuel gave up to be President Barack Obama's chief of staff, reports ABC 7, a Chicago television station.

Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley won nearly 70 percent of the vote with 98 percent of precincts reporting.

Quigley clobbered Republican rival Rosanna Pulido and Green Party candidate Matt Reichel to claim Illinois' fifth Congressional District seat. The district stretches from Chicago's wealthy lakefront neighborhoods to outlying suburbs and includes much of Chicago's largest gay neighborhood that straddles along North Halsted street.

In a February interview with gay weekly Windy City Times, the fifty-year-old Quigley expressed strong support for gay rights and the gay community.

On gay marriage, Quigley said: “I'm in favor of it because I don't think a government should be able to tell people who they can love and how to express it.”

“I don't understand why someone's [sexual] orientation affects their ability to serve their country,” Quigley said in discussing the military's ban on open gay service. “Obviously, there are thousands of [LGBT] members who are serving in the military and I think it's abusive that we somehow discriminate against someone who is willing to serve their country.”

On gay issues, Quigley has put his money where his mouth is; in fact the Illinois native has helped in very courageous ways.

“I helped start the Halsted Street festival,” Quigley said, referring to the annual gay and lesbian arts and food festival that takes place in Chicago's gay neighborhood, Boystown.

“I did the first annual AIDS ride, from the Twin Cities to Chicago, before I ever ran as a candidate for anything. I played hockey in the Gay Games. I haven't missed a [gay pride] parade since 1982, when I was just a citizen.”

“For me [participating in the gay community] it's a way of life, not a campaign practice,” he added.

Quigley will fill the remainder of Emanuel's two-year term that began in November.