Thursday, June 27, 2019

Preckwinkle overly ambitious? Seeking fourth term while barely in third

Toni Preckwinkle fell short of her desire to be the first black woman ever elected as Chicago mayor, but still seems to have her heart set on going into history as a political first of sorts.
Preckwinkle looking toward 4th term in office

Preckwinkle, 72, has already served two terms as president of the Cook County Board, and managed to get herself elected to a third term – of which she has barely served one year.

BUT PRECKWINKLE LET it be known this week that she’s already planning her next re-election. An election cycle that actually won’t come about until 2022.

Which if she manages to carry it through and win, would keep her in office through 2026 and have her as an elected official at age 80. Not bad for a woman who previously said this year she was running her last campaign for office.

It would seem that Preckwinkle hasn’t let her political defeat earlier this year to Lori Lightfoot as mayor crush her political spirits. She’s going to be in public office as long as she can – and may very well envision herself becoming the equivalent of Richard J. Daley or Harold Washington.

Both of whom died while in office. With Washington taking that literally – he suffered a stroke while working at his desk.

NOW I’M SURE some people are completely appalled at the notion that Preckwinkle won’t just wither away into anonymity. There are those who were offended that she didn’t have to give up her county board presidency post in order to run for mayor.
Won't let Lightfoot victory set her legacy

They would have wanted her overwhelming defeat to Lightfoot (tempered somewhat by the notion that many more people didn’t bother to vote at all) to be a career-crusher. Something that would cause her name to go into the Chicago history books as evidence of her public disgrace.

Instead, Preckwinkle remains as county board president (the post known informally to some political watchers as the “mayor of Cook County”) and as chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party.

Making her political legacy one of coming close to reaching the titles (if not the actual power or influence) of Mayor Daley, the elder, himself.
Does Preckwinkle hope to last as long as Dunne or Daley?

WHICH MEANS I’M sure there are some who already are gearing up to cast votes against her come 2022.

Who knows? Maybe some people truly are petty enough to hold a life-long grudge against Preckwinkle for that pop tax measure (a penny per ounce) she pushed that boosted the cost of a can of cola upward by about 21 cents.

While some who truly carried the notion of Lightfoot as some sort of political saint may well want to hate on Preckwinkle for having the nerve to run against her earlier this year.

All I know is that there’s quite a bit of time between now and 2022. Who’s to say what will happen that will change conditions for Preckwinkle. Perhaps she’ll become politically fashionable again?

OR MAYBE SHE’LL come up with circumstances that show she won’t be able to run for a fourth term – which would be something extraordinary.
Will Preckwinkle have Washington-type ending?

Because if she truly were able to serve four terms as county board president, that would make her one of the longest holders of that office ever. You’d literally have to look back to George Dunne (who served from 1969 to 1971) to find someone who held the post longer.

The point may well be that Toni Preckwinkle isn’t going anywhere. She’s in office, and intends to carry on with her job for years to come.

The real question, one that we’ll see answered in 2022, is whether the electorate is in any mood to retain her in office. Or will voters remain as temperamental three years from now as they were back in May – and finally send her off to political retirement?


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