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Proviso Probe

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

how does Vallas run for Cook County Board Prez affect Peraica?

Carol Marin (Sun-Times) reports Paul Vallas will run for President of the Cook County Board as a Republican. The current President is Todd Stroger.

h/t Capitol Fax Blog

What are the implications for the Cook County Democratic Party?

If the Cook County Democrats run Todd Stroger the party has a good chance of losing the seat. Vallas has a long record of public sector accomplishments.

I expect the Cook County Dems will want to run somebody who has a good reputation with the goo-goos, but won't cut patronage as aggressively as Vallas would as a Republican.

The Illinois Democratic Party (functionally the will of the Illinois Democratic Party is equivalent to the desires of Michael J. Madigan) will probably want to prevent the possibility of a strong Republican emerging who would be a threat to run for governor. Madigan's daughter, Lisa, is preparing to run for governor.

So, the Democrats might be fairly united to keep Vallas from winning.

Stroger is a weak candidate.

The Democratic Party unofficial rules seem to be that Democrats have to replace Black Democrats with Black Democrats.

Who is a Black Democrat who is popular with the goo-goos, who wouldn't rock the boat much on patronage? And Alderman Toni Preckwinkle has already started a campaign.

What's this mean for Commissioner Tony Peraica, who represents much of Proviso Township?

Peraica seems to have a special skill at winning elections by thin margins, although he got clobbered in his last election; Anita Alvarez got close to 70% of the vote for Cook County State's Attorney in 2008.

Since Peraica has made himself a thorn in the side of Cook County Commissioner Liz Gorman, the chair of the Cook County GOP, much of the official Republican Party would be happy to throw Peraica under the bus. Gorman and Peraica really dislike each other.

Vallas is a stronger candidate than Peraica, so the Illinois GOP will support Vallas too.

Peraica could run for another position in Cook County government, but if I'm not mistaken, President of the County Board is the only position he could seek simultaneously while running for re-election to the county board.

My personal take is that Peraica has drifted to the Right more and more in how he talks. His political instincts remain a mix of reformist instincts, government as business, progressiveness and social conservatism.

Mike Manzo, Peraica's chief of staff, has moved to DuPage County, which is traditionally the base of the Illinois GOP. Manzo ran his wife for county board against the GOP establishment. Formerly Manzo was president of the board of education of Proviso Township High Schools and he also ran against Ron Serpico for village president in Melrose Park.

I think it's fair to say that Peraica and Manzo see themselves as reformers who see a need to reform and purify the Republican Party and then the Republican Party will be a true vehicle of reform. And they are both committed to social conservatism.

I can see a scenario where Peraica loses his re-election and moves to DuPage County to run for office there. Peraica and Manzo would then seek to takeover the DuPage County GOP and then use that as their base to purify the Illinois Republican Party.

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