Unable to walk, slightly disoriented and slurring his speech, the 76-year-old was alert Tuesday evening but will likely spend the final days of the campaign in a hospital bed, as Democratic Party leaders ponder whether Stroger will eventually have to be replaced on the ballot.
It also caused Stroger’s primary opponent, Forrest Claypool, to pull anti-Stroger ads in favor of those touting Claypool’s own record. Claypool canceled Tuesday night appearances as he wished Stroger a quick recovery. It remained unclear how the illness will affect Claypool’s campaign. […]
But Simon said he would advise Stroger to avoid campaigning and it could be a month or more before Stroger can go back on the job.
Now, Stroger’s campaign must grapple with convincing the public that their candidate remains fit enough to serve a fourth term.
Bruce Washington, Stroger’s campaign manager, said the campaign strategy would not change even with Stroger in the hospital.
“The campaign is fully engaged and aggressively moving forward with a plan that has been structured,” Washington said late Tuesday. “We’re not changing anything. There’s no issue as far as what the campaign is going to do. […]
Stroger’s illness similarly presents a dilemma for Claypool’s campaign, which must continue to chip away at Stroger’s lead without seeming insensitive or opportunistic. […]
Axelrod said that as a result of Stroger’s condition, he moved up by a day a new Claypool TV ad, one that features Claypool and highlights his newspaper endorsements. The ad replaced one that mocked Stroger’s attack ads and hammered the board president’s record on taxation and management of the county’s health system.
Simon, who is also on the county payroll as executive chairman of emergency medicine for the Cook County Bureau of Health Services, said he advised Stroger to go to Rush because all of Strogerâ€™s records are there, because Simon is on staff there and because Rush has expertise in handling stroke sufferers.
It seems cold to reduce Cook County Board President John Stroger’s health to the political calculus of the moment, so let’s begin by wishing him a complete and speedy recovery. But when you look at the calendar, there’s really no avoiding the politics of it. […]
Will there be a sympathy vote for Stroger?
Will there be voters who had planned to vote for him who change their minds because of questions about his ability to carry out his duties?
That seems likely, too. […]
It was somewhat disappointing, but not that surprising given past history, that the first confirmation of Stroger’s stroke came at 5 p.m. from Simon, 12 hours after Stroger was first taken from his home to a nearby hospital by Chicago Fire Department paramedics.
Then Stroger’s staff said he had been discharged from that hospital — initially neglecting to mention that he was being transferred to Rush.
While reporters waited in the lobby at Rush for word on Stroger’s condition, his people kept giving reassurances that all his tests had come back “normal,” failing to mention that he’d had a stroke.
The political fallout from County Board President John H. Stroger Jr.’s stroke is huge and far reaching. To say that it could change the future of Cook County is an understatement.
UPDATE: Stroger will stay in the hospital for at least a week.
Cook County Board President John Stroger will likely remain hospitalized next week when voters go to the polls, according to an update issued by Rush University Medical Center