Removed by a reformer, current Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, former county board president Todd Stroger says he’s been thinking about a political comeback for a while now, and the stars may have suddenly aligned.
“I really do think that government is here to help people and that’s what I know best. And I think I’d like to go back to it,” Stroger told WGN.
It was a tumultuous term for the Stroger, who succeeded his father as the head of the county board. But after a couple of years away, in what he says was ample time to reflect, the former board president wants another round. This time, as commissioner.
“Well, first I wanna talk to my wife,” he said. “And then yes, I want to talk to the committeemen.”
Somewhat ironically, it’s the fall of a Stroger ally, mentor and protector that clears the way for this. The conviction on Thursday of Commissioner William Beavers of using campaign cash to fund a gambling habit, after just two hours of deliberations by a federal jury, means he’s automatically out. Now, the question is, will Democratic committeemen let Stroger back in?
“It’s their appointment to make — their votes weighted based on ward turnout the last time Beavers was elected,” Stroger said.
In a statement, current Board President Toni Preckwinkle said: “This has been an unfortunate turn of events, especially for the residents of the 4th district. The county has a process in place for choosing an individual to fill the remainder of the term. It is my hope the committeemen find a candidate who has a record of community involvement.”
Stroger says he has that: a burning desire to serve.
“I’ve been thinking about it for probably the last six months and he wasn’t gonna run anyway. We have talked a few times. He wasn’t gonna run, so I had told people that I was thinking about running for his seat anyway. So I have talked to a few people. I just hadn’t really tried to put anything in concrete.”
Beavers’ term would have ended in December of next year. Whoever is appointed will serve the rest of it.
Stroger says he’ll be reaching out to those Democratic committeemen over the weekend.