Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Two's Company; Three's a Crowd

As far as embattled countywide officials go, John Stroger is sitting in the catbird seat. Conventional wisdom dictates that his two primary opponents will crash and burn in each other's flames, ceding to Stroger the primary-and the general election against fellow commissioner Tony Peraica. However, a sudden change in the dynamics of the race could spell disaster for Stroger, and propel into office a new generation of leadership on the Cook County board.

Stroger is a reliable establishment war horse, who has been almost obsequiously faithful to the mayor. In the 1994 primary, he stared down Aurelia Pucinksi and Maria Pappas and won-with nearly 50 percent. Stroger is adamant in asserting his credentials, prone to assuring voters that
"I am the incumbent and I have a very good record," as he did on polytalented pundit Jeff Berkowitz's program earlier this year.

Commissioner Mike Quigley is fond of reminding us that it was he who paved the way for the election of other pro-reform CCB member(i.e. Claypool, Sufferdin, and Peraica), in other words, that he was a reformer before reforming was cool. Quigley may have the experience, but colleague Claypool appears to have the money and endorsements, with over $750,000 in the bank to Quigley's $400k. Claypool once served as Daley's chief of staff, and conspiracy theories have abounded that he is a city hall plant. (Daley strongly favors Stroger.)

Voters will probably wonder whether Clayppol's "C" stands for: calculating or charismatic. Quigley, on the other hand, is a walking contradiction. He exudes equal parts professorial and progressive sincerity(he teaches political science at Loyola) with his fresh-scrubbed, sleeves rolled up diligence, and cocky firebrand, with his attention-getting rants against everyone form Stroger to Sheahan and proclamations that "the revolution is here." If Quigley were seduced into running for the sheriff's office, the primary for CCB president would be Claypool's to lose.


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