Board pres. hopefuls campaign in final weekend

January 31, 2010 9:15:59 PM PST
A key political race in Cook County is the battle for county board president.In recent years, the winner of the Democratic primary for Cook County Board president wins in November. So, the final hours of the candidates' campaigns and voter turnout is crucial.

All four Democratic candidates made several campaign stops Sunday.

The candidate apparently in the lead, and the one that polls show is last, spent their mornings in two large African-American churches.

"I'm feeling good for Tuesday," incumbent Todd Stroger said.

"Can you feel a victory?" candidate Terrence O'Brien asked his.

"We are excited about winning," said Dorothy Brown.

"I think will be victorious Tuesday," Ald. Toni Preckwinkle said.

All four Democratic candidates say they are confident. However, if you believe in polls, Chicago's 4th Ward Ald. Toni Preckwinkle has the edge.

"We are ahead in the polls, and I wouldn't trade places with any of the other candidates. But I'll tell you, I know polls don't vote," Preckwinkle said.

Traditionally, African-American voters cast their ballots in greater numbers than other groups in Democratic primaries, which is why the support of the Chicago area's largest African-American church, the House of Hope, is a big boost for Preckwinkle.

While Preckwinkle is ahead, the latest polls show the incumbent, Todd Stroger dead last.

He also spent his Sunday morning on the South Side. Stroger defended his sales tax hike at the Apostolic Church of God.

"The county's in great shape, and that's because I've worked hard to do it, and you won't find that with the other governments," Stroger said. "What is the problem with the county? Nothing right now."

Also working on getting support from black voters was Dorothy Brown, who spent much of her day in the south suburbs.

"I see the south suburbs as needing a lot of economic development. They hear my message of economic development and creating jobs," said Brown.

O'Brien campaigned on the North Side, where former Cook County State's Attorney Dick Devine offered his support.

During a rally, O'Brien took shots at all three of his opponents. He specifically questioned Preckwinkle's reform candidacy.

"She's been saying the first thing she'll do is cut her salary by 10 percent. Let me tell you, folks, in her years in city council, she has voted for three pay raises for herself and one cost of living. So, I don't know if that's a reformer," O'Brien said.

As for the sales tax hike, O'Brien says he will immediately roll it back. Toni Preckwinkle and Dorothy Brown have promised they will repeal it over time.

The Republican candidates for board president are former state lawmaker Roger Keats, 61, and Chicago police Lieutenant John Garrido, 42, who is also a lawyer.