It seems the odds are stacked against Todd Stroger to win re-election. The litany of antics and policy that has incensed Cook County voters, such as the sales tax increase and the nepotistic hiring practices, would all seem to suggest voters are fed up.
Stroger’s chances seem so dim that even the racially-motivated voting patterns of the city do not seem to line up in favor with Todd Stroger, considering that Alderman Toni Preckwinkle (an African American representing the Hyde Park neighborhood) has announced her intention to run for the County Board presidency. Russ Stewart highlights the ins and outs of how voting will potentially break down in the 2010 election for board president.
How could Stroger be competitive given the popular misgivings about his taxation and governance policies and the regular media thrashing he receives?
Well, Stroger may be competitive if he plays his message correctly. One thing we know for sure is that Stroger is not below playing to voters’ sympathy for poor Todd. He regularly blames the media for unfairly attacking him and making him the scapegoat for all the County and City’s problems. That carries some weight considering the regular lambastings he receives from the major dailies.
Plus, I doubt that Stroger is unaware that he was elected with sympathy running high for his father’s illness during the 2006 election that helped Todd’s victory.
I will predict that Stroger plays both the sympathy and the race card very hard. Those are the two strengths of his message because his record certainly hardly appeals to anyone. He will use his staffer who liases with churches to work the African American church-going community, he will rely on traditional Stroger African American strongholds and he will pit Toni Preckwinkle as not representing the concerns of the African American community.
Plus, he actually has a chance to gain sympathy from voters because the media is, and will continue to be, relentess in their criticism of Todd. That will be plain to voters and Todd will try to play on those emotions.
In the end, he should fall short to Forrest Claypool as Russ Stewart predicts. But, he will put up a stronger fight than most predict.