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Toddler Haters Get "a Good Smack in the Face, Really."

By Margaret Lyons in News on Feb 11, 2008 7:20PM

2008_2_11.stroger.jpgAccording to a new Sun-Times analysis of last Tuesday's county-wide primary races, those candidates that attempted character assassination of their rivals by associating them with unpopular Cook County Board President Todd Stroger lost, almost across the board. Stroger's approval ratings are basically in the same territory as President Bush's—somewhere between rock bottom and Herbert Hoover—so the prevailing logic was that if you could associate a candidate with Stroger, it would be like transferring his unpopularity onto them. Makes sense, right?

For some reason, though, the tactic seems to have backfired for just about every candidate that tried it. (This editorial from the Trib, which urged voters to vote against Stroger allies, also seems to have backfired.)

Those who believed in that strategy "have gotten a good smack in the face, really," a smiling Stroger said. "Our association is a good one."

Stroger wasn't up for reelection this time, but Bill Beavers was...and lost badly in his bid for the 7th Ward's Democratic Committeeman slot to Sandi Jackson. Other losers included Larry Suffredin in State's Attorney race, who ran anti-Stroger ads; Jay Paul Deratany in the Board of Review race, who ran ads comparing his rival with Stroger; and Ed Smith lost to Gene Moore in the race for Cook County Recorder after publicly accusing Moore of being endorsed by Stroger.

Last week saw a handful of big victories for "The Machine," but maybe some of those victories can be attributed to the broader failure of negative campaigning.--Mark Boyer