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Stroger's nemesis likely to stay right where he is
By Rob Olmstead | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 11/5/2008 4:55 PM | Updated: 11/5/2008 11:06 PM

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If Cook County Board President Todd Stroger was hoping Barack Obama would take his biggest pain in the behind to Washington, D.C., he might be disappointed.

Cook County Commissioner Forrest Claypool - who is often cited as a potential political opponent in 2010 to run against Stroger - gave every indication that he'll be staying right where he is.

Claypool is a friend of Obama and Obama's adviser, David Axelrod, and served as a member of Obama's media team during his historic run for the presidency. Speculation about whether Obama might tap Claypool to come to Washington to serve as an administrator became somewhat of a Cook County parlor game, but Claypool downplayed any such speculation Wednesday.

"I'm not going to Washington," said Claypool. "I could always be surprised (but) I'm not anticipating being surprised."

But Obama's rise could still have an effect on the makeup of the county board.

If media reports are true that Obama has offered 5th Congressional District Rep. Rahm Emanuel the chief-of-staff spot and Emanuel takes it, a special election would have to be held in 120 days to fill Emanuel's seat. Both Claypool and Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley live in Emanuel's district.

"We're seriously considering it," said Quigley Wednesday when asked if he might take a run at the office.

Claypool was less eager.

"I wouldn't rule it out," he said, but added, "It's not something I've thought about."

They wouldn't be the only ones eyeing the coveted job. Chicago Alderman Tom Allen and state Rep. John Fritchey have also been mentioned as potential candidates.