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Stroger’s past debt and bleak future

Tuesday, Jul 21, 2009 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Cook County Board President Todd Stroger has paid off a big debt - to himself.

Stroger’s latest fundraising report showed he cashed in three certificates of deposit worth over $526,000 and paid himself $350,000.

President Stroger loaned his campaign $500,000 during his first countywide race. His D2 report is a bit of a mess (no surprise). The report claims he still owes $115,000 in debt to others, including Senate Majority Leader James Clayborne. But it looks like the total is more like $181K $131K to others and $150K to himself.

Stroger reported raising about $180,000 in the first six months of the year, but drilling into the report you find that $48,000 of that was transferred in from a now defunct Stroger campaign committee.

* Stroger’s D2 isn’t the only mess. He’s now looking at having to veto a tax hike rollback

Cook County Board President Todd Stroger is vowing to veto the latest plan to cut back on the penny-on-a-dollar sales-tax hike that he pushed through a year ago. But a key opponent says he may have the votes for an override.

The veto threat, confirmed by Mr. Stroger’s office, came after Commissioners John Daley and Lawrence Suffredin met with Mr. Stroger last week and asked him to halve the tax hike by early 2010.

And then there’s this

Cook County Board President Todd Stroger’s office now plans to release cellphone records as soon as later today of the four people at the center of a hiring scandal in his administration: Stroger himself, his chief communications officer Gene Mullins and ousted county employees Donna Dunnings and Tony Cole.

That’s according to the Better Government Association, which sued Stroger for failing to turn over those cellphone records between Nov. 30, 2008, to April 30, 2009.

Stroger is hiring a new campaign manager soon, but to say he faces an uphill climb is an insult to hills.

* Potential Stroger challenger Circuit Clerk Dorothy Brown loaned her campaign fund $70,000 and raised another $160,000, which is more than Stroger, believe it or not. Unsurprisingly, quite a few of those contributions came from Cook County employees.

* One of the more formidable challengers in the contest, Ald. Toni Preckwinkle, raised about $365,000 net for two different committees. Treasure Island Foods was her biggest contributor, giving $15,000. She also transferred in $25,000 from her aldermanic campaign fund.

* Congressman Danny Davis could be the big dog in this contest. Davis’ local campaign fund pulled in $67K, spent it all and had $20K left. His federal committee, which he could use for the local race, had about $580K on hand at the end of the last quarter. [Notice change. That’s ten times more than I first wrote. Wow.]

* MWRD President Terrence O’Brien raised no money, but had about $147K stashed in two committees.

* Sheriff Tom Dart says he’s not interested in a run, but he did raise $101K and had $216 in the bank.

* Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin has been talking about running, but he raised no money other than a $30,000 loan to himself. He had just $9100 on hand.


  1. - phil - Tuesday, Jul 21, 09 @ 11:17 am:

    Is it time to put the Illinois Democrats on the bench for a while, or what. How embarrassing.

  2. - Fan of CapFax - Tuesday, Jul 21, 09 @ 11:20 am:

    Stroger is hiring a new campaign manager soon, but to say he faces an uphill climb is an insult to hills.

    Rich, you crack me up! That is too funny!

  3. - Third Generation Chicago Native - Tuesday, Jul 21, 09 @ 11:31 am:

    Larry Suffredin, besides not having a huge campaign chest, should not consider running. There is too much competition Preckwinkle and Davis might be enough to get Stroger out of office. Dorothy Brown ran for Mayor, unsucessfully last election, she is a perpetual candidate.
    There is enough people fed up with Stroger and the Dunnings/Cole ordeal might have sealed his fate.

    Larry Suffredin, northsider, will have a hard time getting the south side vote. There are some strong south side wards, e.g. 13 that turn out to vote in high numbers that won’t give a northsider many votes. Nope, southsiders aren’t going to help Larry Suffredin. Preckwinkle will get a lot of support from the Cop/firemen areas of Morgan Park, Mt. Greenwood etc.

  4. - The Doc - Tuesday, Jul 21, 09 @ 11:37 am:

    Stroger is toast, and the only remaining question concerning his campaign is how bad of a beating he’ll take.

    Dorothy Brown is certainly not the answer. Her “supplemental income” will rise dramatically should she wrest control of thousands of county employees.

    Based on Suffredin’s lack of fundraising prowress, I imagine he’s come to the realization that his campaign is likely a non-starter.

    For the Dem primary, it’ll come down to Preckwinkle and the yet to be determined white male.

  5. - The Doc - Tuesday, Jul 21, 09 @ 11:38 am:

    Oops, forgot about Danny Davis.

  6. - Amy - Tuesday, Jul 21, 09 @ 11:42 am:

    even Todd must know that he is toast, so why not make some hay out of those cell phone records? sounds like great
    material to create a script and use the original participants for a video and we can all pay to watch the Todd soap opera.

  7. - Carl Nyberg - Tuesday, Jul 21, 09 @ 12:04 pm:

    I’m inclined to be more impressed by Preckwinkle raising $400,000 in a quarter than Davis having $600,000 sitting around after a decade plus in Congress and no serious challengers.

    Davis told the Cook County Democratic Party in 2006 he wanted to be Prez of the county board b/c he didn’t want to commute to DC.

    Does a guy who has lost the heart to fly to DC gonna inspire people to stick their necks out for him?

    If Davis puts up some big fundraising numbers quickly, he will establish that he really is hungry for the job.

    If Davis fails to put up big numbers, it will show he’s not hungry.

    And last I heard, “Don’t make no waves; *don’t back no losers*” is still operative.

  8. - Third Generation Chicago Native - Tuesday, Jul 21, 09 @ 12:23 pm:

    I would say Preckwinkle has an advantage over Davis, she is currently in local politics, and seems more ambitious at wanting to correct the County’s problems.
    Davis may be looking at this as a semi-retirement postition, close to home and with a good, … rather another good pension.

  9. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jul 21, 09 @ 12:31 pm:

    –Congressman Danny Davis could be the big dog in this contest. Davis’ local campaign fund pulled in $67K, spent it all and had $20K left. His federal committee, which he could use for the local race, had about $580K on hand at the end of the last quarter.–

    When you’re in the majority on Ways and Means, you’ve got ways and means.

    That’s a big number for Preckwinkle. Did she really make a deal with Daley? Talk about an Odd Couple.

  10. - Will County Woman - Tuesday, Jul 21, 09 @ 1:01 pm:

    see, this is precisely why the notion of the so-called incumbent adavantage is overrated and needs to be qualified. it’s simply not enough to say that an incumbent has an advantage when the incumbent has made a mess things and self-inflicted wounds due to poor leadership skills/abilities.

    as recent as last week there were delusional people still walking around claiming that todd could still win. todd in fact lost his re-election bid somewhere in early 2007, and has no one to blame but himself.

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