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Cook County Board Wed Jan 14 2009
Hat tip to Josh's coverage at Progress Illinois on the report in Crain's that 4th Ward (Hyde Park, Kenwood) Alderman Toni Preckwinkle is going to challenge Todd Stroger for the Cook County Board Presidency in the Democratic Primary in 2010.
Hmm. This is curious, no? Forrest Claypool says he will make a decision this summer, but I would put the odds at ten to one that he runs. Certainly the fact that he has engaged the President in public debate recently would tend to indicate that. A three-way primary between these guys would have an interesting dynamic. Preckwinkle appeals to lakefront liberal types, representing as she does the uber-liberal Hyde Park, and also good government types all over the city. She also has deep ties to the black community, though obviously the Stroger name is an institution for vast parts of the black neighborhoods of the South Side in particular. Preckwinkle, were she to receive any level of organizational support -- or if, say, Stroger were to lose his -- could pull from enough constituencies to eke out a victory in the primary.
To put it mildly, Todd Stroger has had a disappointing tenure. We may grant the assertion that that's because he's been manhandled by the local editorial boards, but given his controversial ascension to the seat and the suspicion that comes with nepotism, he should have gone to great pains to be transparent and efficient. Stroger's candidacy threatens the Democratic Party's control of Cook County government, which over time could wear away at its resurgence in the suburbs and subsequent domination of statewide office, too. That is certainly on the mind of people like our mayor and many of the more active ward organizations.
But why is Preckwinkle looking to leave the 4th Ward just as the Olympic Games threaten to tear the community apart? Why, just when the ward would need a strong voice to defend its community and extract assurances from the Mayor, is she pursuing a different set of priorities?
Of course, if she wins, her seat would be filled by mayoral fiat. Mayor Daley would handpick the alderman representing the community most threatened by the Olympic hurricane.
It's curious, that's all.