Monday, December 19, 2005

Tricky Decision

So in light of Mike Quigley's (incredibly difficult and honorable) announcement not to seek the Cook County Board Presidency, I was thinking about the dynamics of the race and the big quandary that it poses for the Governor's campaign.

Why the Governor's race you ask? Well, here's how I see it. Obviously, the two remaining candidates in the Democratic Primary are the incumbent, John Stroger and Commissioner Forrest Claypool. With Quigley not only out of the race, but fully supporting the Claypool campaign, this race will be positioned clearly as the reformer taking on the old way of doing business. Sound familiar?

So here's where it get interesting. Stroger has not been shy about playing the race card in the past, and will subtly (or not so subtly) use it now in order to get voters to the polls. Similarly, the Governor's re-election strategy, to a certain extent in the Primary, but much more so in the General Election, is going to be very dependent upon not only a big plurality of the African-American vote, but also upon a big, fat turnout in the African-American community. In order to get that result, come November, he needs...Stroger on the ticket.

As I see it, this puts our reform and renewal Governor in a serious trick box. If he openly backs Stroger over Claypool, he will significantly damage his credibility among reform voters, not only in Cook County, but around the state. If you are for 'changing the old way of doing business', that has to be a position of principle, not convenience.

If he takes the opposite position, he alienates some of the powerful organizations that are already on the fence with him, plus he may very well shoot himself in the foot with a constituency that does not easily forgive and forget.

It is virtually impossible for him to 'stay neutral' in the race. Even if he doesn't formally take a position, which is the likely case, the efforts of his supporters and those close to him will be justifiably attributed to him.

One can point out the presence of SOS Jesse White on the ticket. But to Jesse's credit, the guy is so well-liked across the state, that I don't envision a rallying cry to get the vote turnout in order to put him back in office.

Accordingly, I think that the Governor finds himself in a very untenable position. Based on a number of things, I have a strong sense of what the Governor is going to do, but I thought that it would be more interesting just to put this out there for all of you to ponder and share your thoughts on. Have at it.


At December 20, 2005 at 10:26 AM, Blogger Angry Jolietan said...

he'll do whatever Pete Giangreco tells him to do.

At December 20, 2005 at 10:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent post Rep. Not sure that I know the answer, but I think you're right, the situation puts the Gov. in dangerous waters.

At December 20, 2005 at 2:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eh, I don't think it matters... I don't think Claypool or Stroger even want his endorsement.

At December 20, 2005 at 2:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The issue isn't his endorsement but who he supports and how, and how he tries to play it publicly and politically. I agree with Rep. Fritchey, this could be the best back story of the upcoming primary.

At December 20, 2005 at 5:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

who's jesse white supporting in the goob primary?

At December 20, 2005 at 8:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good question. Would love to watch him answer that one.

At December 20, 2005 at 9:22 PM, Anonymous Casual observer said...


Were you being sarcastic about the Governor's possible loss of credibility as the "reform and renewal" Governor should he back Stroger? I actually chuckled out loud when I read that. He forfeited his credibility as a reformer about two years and $10 million ago.

At December 21, 2005 at 12:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now that Stroger has decided not to raise his part of the Cook property tax, I think this will be an easy win for him. Increasingly high property taxes are a fairly incendiary issue in Cook County, but Cook County taxpayers are so used to Democratic corruption that I don't think there will be a lot of fire for replacing Stroger w/Claypool.

If, as is widely assumed, African Americans will vote en bloc for Stroger and will turn out at his request, and whites (except Democratic patronage jobholders) stay home, the only uncertainty would be the Hispanic vote. And Hispanics, strong Daley supporters, are unlikely to desert the Dem mainstream.

I say, Stroger wins in a walk. Really, nobody in Chicago cares about reforming corruption, as long as each ethnic group gets what they consider to be a reasonable piece of the government money pie.

At December 21, 2005 at 9:15 PM, Blogger Amy Allen said...

Good observations, sir.

At December 23, 2005 at 1:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't like that Claypool is considered some type of reformer. Here is a guy, as Daley's Chief of Staff, helped set up much of the hired truck and illegal hiring processes. Went to the park district and slashed and burned the district-then fixed the hiring to load it with his cronies whom new nothing about park programs. Dumped his wife for his secratary and is generally considered to be a weasel. We would have been better off with Quigley


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