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Cook Co. candidates scurry for spots on ballot
By Ted Cox | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 10/26/2009 2:10 PM | Updated: 10/27/2009 12:15 AM

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Candidates scurried for positions on the ballot in the upcoming February primary election as they filed petitions for Cook County office Monday.

Chicago Hyde Park Democratic Alderman Toni Preckwinkle was first to file for president of the County Board, but incumbent President Todd Stroger didn't file at all on the opening day of the filing period.

It's widely considered that the first and last spots on the ballot are desirable to sway undecided voters in the booth. Thus, the two most hotly contested times to file are right at the opening, which was Monday morning in the downtown office of Cook County Clerk David Orr, or at the end, when filing closes at 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 2. Those in line Monday before 9 a.m. - which included most of the top candidates - made themselves eligible for lotteries for contested top ballot slots on Nov. 9.

That's also when candidates face a final deadline to stand up to any contested petitions and to declare themselves finally in or out of a race, a decision facing Democratic U.S. Rep. Danny Davis of Chicago. He filed for president of the County Board Monday, but could still opt to run for re-election.

Davis' director of issues and communications, Ira Cohen, said he believes Davis will file to run for the congressional seat also.

Clerk of the Cook Circuit Court Dorothy Brown also filed for the Democratic primary in the race for County Board president, as did Metropolitan Water Reclamation District President Terrence O'Brien. Chicago Police officer John Garrido filed ahead of slated Roger Keats of Wilmette, a former member of the General Assembly, on the Republican ballot in the same race.

Vince Williams, Stroger's campaign manager, said Stroger continued to circulate petitions and there was "no compunction" to file on the first day given his incumbency. Filing before deadline to get the last ballot slot is "the likely thing to happen," Williams said, "but that's not the mission."

As expected, incumbents Orr, Treasurer Maria Pappas, Sheriff Tom Dart and their fellow slated Democratic assessor candidate Joseph Berrios, currently of the Board of Review, all filed. South Holland's Robert Shaw filed to run against Berrios, as did Evanston Township Assessor Sharon Strobeck-Eckersall on the Republican side.

Some sitting suburban Cook County commissioners faced immediate challenges. Democrats Victor Forys of Park Ridge and Patrick Maher of Orland Park lined up to take on Orland Park Republican Commissioner Liz Gorman in the 17th District, which extends across the western edge of the county. Glenview Republican Commissioner Gregg Goslin faced a challenge from Northfield's Patrick O'Donoghue and Barrington's Kurt "Ike" Eichaker in his own party as well as from Northfield's Jennifer Bishop Jenkins on the Democratic side in the 14th District. Westchester Republican Commissioner Tony Peraica faced off against Democrats Bill Russ of Brookfield and Jeffrey Tobolski of McCook in the 16th District. Evanston Democratic Commissioner Larry Suffredin was challenged in his own party by John Michael Keefe of Skokie in the 13th District.

Bartlett Republican Commissioner Timothy Schneider is thus far unopposed in the 15th District.