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Quigley First Official Dem for County Board President

By vouchey in News on Jun 13, 2005 5:11PM

quigley.jpg"Rebel", "agitator", "founder of the revolution". They're talking about Cook County Commissioner, Mike Quigley, who announced his long-expected candidacy for Cook County Board President at the Hotel Allegro this morning. Expecting a crowded race for president, Quigley, a Democrat, hopes to grab the public's attention by mounting his campaign early.

So far the only other announced candidate is Republican Commissioner Tony Peraica, who announced in March. Democratic Commissioner Forrest Claypool is expected to officially announce his campaign later this year.

The unannounced elephant in the room is incumbent President John Stroger. All signs seem to point to him not running for a third term. He's 75 years old, rumored to be in failing health, and recently bought a condo in southern Florida. And yet, he keeps everyone guessing and avoids lame duck status by continuing to say he's thinking about it - and by continuing to build his campaign bankroll, which last January showed over $1.6 million in his campaign account, and another $600k in the 8th Ward Democrats account, which he controls.

Quigley, an unabashed Lakefront liberal, has support rooted in the Chicago gay community, for whom he's been a constant champion (Quigley is straight and married). From when he was first elected in 1998, Quigley has been a regular bomb-thrower, digging up waste and patronage in County government, and he is obviously planning to capitalize on that history. But Quigley lacks recognition and support outside of the Lakefront, which he desperately needs if he hopes to win.

There's a bevy of suitors waiting in the wings if Stroger does not enter the race. Commissioner Roberto Maldonado, who comes from Cong. Luis Guiterrez' organization is reportedly thinking about a run, and so's County Assessor Jim Houlihan, Alderman Ed Smith, and County Clerk of Courts Dorothy Brown, County Treasurer Maria Pappas, and Republican Commissioner Elizabeth Ann Doody Gorman. Of those, Houlihan and Smith are the only ones with ties throughout the county, and the potential ability to raise enough money to mount a strong campaign. A primary campaign could cost as much as $4 million.

The primary election is March 21, 2006 and the general is on November 7, 2006.