Monday, November 2, 2009

"Mahers" crowd the suburban 17th District Cook County Board race

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There were too many "Mahers" running in the last election. Two in the village race, one in the Township race. And now, we have three again in the race for the Cook County Board's 17th District in the Republican and Democraic primaries on Feb. 2, 2010. Election contests in the February 2, 2010 primary will be held for President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners, County Clerk, Treasurer, Sheriff, Assessor, County Commissioner (Districts 1 – 17), Board of Review Member (District 1); Water Reclamation District Commissioner (3 seats), Regional Superintendent of Schools and Township Committeemen.

In the 17th Cook County District, a Wild West gunfight is shaping up with three Mahers all lined up with ambitions unholstered. They are:

Patrick Maher, the beleaguered president of the Orland Fire Protection District. A democrat.

Gerald Maher, who lost twice in his bid to unseat Orland Park Village President Dan McLaughlin. A Republican.

And John J. Maher of Palos Hills. A Democrat, also.

That's two Mahers in the Democratic primary and one in the Republican primary. On the doubly odd chance that it could happen, we could see two Maher's actually running against each other in the November election.

Of course, they are all trying to unseat Elizabeth "Liz" Doody Gorman, who I think is invincible. Gorman refused to give up and stubbornly fought to repeal the 1 percent Todd Stroger Sales Tax that other commissioners insisted could not be repealed.

And although three efforts to roll back and repeal the sales tax failed, the fight itself was so impressive, it opened the eyes to the sleepy taxpayers into believing that they are more important than the greedy county board president and his selfish patronage politics. More importantly, Gorman's persistence pushed the Illinois General Assembly into also believing that some action was necessary.

The legislature made a largely symbolic effort to repeal the sales tax but House Speaker Michael J. Madigan, the Democratic Party leader, refused to undermine his pal Stroger and pulled the plug on the effort using some legislative puppets he controls through fundraising and campaign donations.

But the legislature did change the rules reducing from 14 to 11 the number of votes needed on the Cook County Board to override a veto by the county board president who more than likely won't be Stroger after next November's genera; election -- maybe even after next year's primary. Stroger is being challenged by some seasoned heavyweights including Congressman Danny K. Davis, County Circuit Clerk Dorothy Brown, Ald. Toni Prekwinkle and WRMD President Terrence O'Brien.

There are other candidates in the 17th District race. On the Democratic side, the Democratic bigwigs have circled around Dr. Victor Forys, while Maher has the predictable alliances from Orland Park.

And, Republican Mark Thompson of Des Plaines and the Maine Township supervisor has also entered the race. Who's behind him? (A certain disgruntled Republican county board commissioner, I presume.) Who's behind John Maher? Who knows! And there is also Donna Sanders of Orland Hills running in the Democratic primary, too.

The Green Party has two candidates in the primary, Matthew J. Ogean of Orland Park (Who is also running for Orland Township Green Party Committeeman) and Richard Delka of Des Plaines.

Gerald Maher is also challenging Gorman for Orland Township Republican Committeeman. McLaughlin is running for Orland Township Democratic Committeeman, and he is unchallenged.

Here's a link to the complete list of filed candidates: Click here.

-- Ray Hanania

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