Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is jumping into the battle for a seat on the water treatment board.

As chair for the Cook County Democratic Party, she and the party’s executive committee are filing a motion this week to intervene on behalf of Democrat Cam Davis, whose name will appear on the ballot after an unusual write-in election.

The dispute went to court last week when the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District filed a motion requesting a judge to determine whether Davis or Gov. Bruce Rauner’s appointee, David Walsh, would fill the vacancy.

“We’re dismayed that Governor Rauner continues to insist that his candidate would serve until 2020,” Preckwinkle said. “He’s on the ballot in November, and we expect him to be elected. … This is the first time the Democratic Party has taken an action like this.”

The vacancy came into question when Commissioner Tim Bradford died on Dec. 1, 2017 — three days before the Dec. 4 primary candidate-filing deadline. After Cook County Clerk David Orr and the State’s Attorney’s Office opted for a write-in election, Davis and Green Party contender Geoffrey Cubbage ran campaigns for write-in votes, earning their party’s nominations. Republicans did not have a candidate in the mix, but Rauner appointed Walsh three weeks after the March primary.

“The governor had a responsibility to fill a vacancy on the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District’s board until the next regular election,” Rauner spokeswoman Elizabeth Tomev said, citing the statute that governs the board. “He fulfilled his duty with the appointment. The length of the term will now be up to the courts to decide.”

The district wants to prevent a delayed decision on the vacancy. The board needs to prepare for whichever incoming commissioner will fill the vacancy, including counting their vote fro the upcoming meeting that will set the agenda for its over $1 billion budget.

“Chair Preckwinkle’s support reaffirms that we fight for public health, jobs that protect our waterways, and communities most vulnerable to flooding,” Davis said. “Voters, not Gov. Rauner or his appointees — are in the best position to decide for themselves who they want to stand up for these priorities.”

Oral arguments are scheduled for Oct. 22.


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