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Inside the meeting of the Cook County Democratic Party"¦or at least the part open to the public

SHARE Inside the meeting of the Cook County Democratic Party"¦or at least the part open to the public

The Cook County Democratic Party -- all 80 ward and township committeemen -- meets Friday at the Hotel Allegro in downtown Chicago to pick its slate of candidates. Thursday, about half the committeemen heard final pitches from candidates, and recommended some endorsements to the full committee. Party Chairman Joseph Berrios says “generally" the full committee signs off on these recommendations. IMG_2023

Board President One race where no recommendation was made is for Cook County Board president. The assembled committeemen ultimately -- in closed session -- deferred that decision to the full committee. Earlier, incumbent Todd Stroger and four Democratic challengers spoke. Each candidate was told they had three minutes total (they all went longer) including an opening statement and -- if there was time and interest -- questioning. Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Board President Terrence O’Brien spoke first... O\'Brien Next up was Clerk of Courts Dorothy Brown. Brown And then the incumbent board president, Todd Stroger. Stroger Congressman Danny Davis then spoke. Davis is well known for his grand oratory style, which has also earned him a reputation for being a slow speaker. You can hear 6th Ward Alderman and Committeeman Freddrenna Lyle joke about that. Davis And wrapping up the sales pitches, 4th Ward Alderman and Committeeman Toni Preckwinkle. Preckwinkle I asked Carrie Austin, alderman and committeeman from the 34th Ward, if she thought the party would slate a candidate for county board president. She says she didn’t think any candidate would end up getting a majority of the weighted vote. She also says it would be embarrassing to the party to endorse someone, and then have individual ward organizations freelance for a mix of candidates. She says it may be better to have an open primary, with ward and township organizations completely free to assist whichever candidate they support. Also predicting there would be no endorsement was state Senator Jeffrey Schoenberg, the Democratic committeeman from Evanston Township. He told me he’s likely to back Congressman Danny Davis, noting he also supported Davis when committeemen filled the ballot spot left vacant by John Stroger in 2006. (Todd Stroger won that vote.) Schoenberg says he likes Preckwinkle’s politics as well, but said he received a phone call from her asking for his support only the day before. Assessor Another big race discussed Thursday was the one for Cook County assessor. Three-term incumbent Jim Houlihan is retiring. Berrios, the Cook County Democratic Party chair, is seeking the post. Berrios is currently a member of the Board of Review, which hears appeals from homeowners and businesses upset with the assessments that come out of the assessor’s office. Also running for the job is Robert Shaw, former Chicago alderman, former Board of Review commissioner and current inspector general for the Village of Dolton. First up was Berrios, asking the committeemen he officially leads to endorse his candidacy. His tone was largely defensive, having followed negative editorials in both the Tribune and Sun-Times. Berrios Shaw went next. Shaw A third candidate is Eugene Staples, who works in real estate. He talked to the committee later in the afternoon, and we don’t have his speech. The committeemen debated and voted behind closed doors. As expected, Berrios cleaned up. Party Secretary Bob Martwick, committeeman from Norwood Park Township, reports Berrios won votes from all assembled committeemen except for one. Staples got no votes. Next up The room was a bit of a mess by the end of Thursday,‚ littered with stacks and stacks of literature handed out by the campaigns, plus empty pop bottles. Committeemen were scheduled to return Friday morning to hear from statewide candidates looking for endorsements. And at 2 p.m., the full committee starts taking some final votes. Those who win the party’s support can expect this kind of help, according to party Executive Vice-Chairman Lou Lang, committeeman from Niles Township: Lang The Cook County Republican Party slated its candidates a few weeks ago.‚ Former state Senator Roger Keats got the nod for board president, beating out Chicago policeman and lawyer John Garrido.

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