Well, that didn’t take long.
Two weeks after former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger said he was going to challenge Toni Preckwinkle for his old job, he has dropped out of the race.
Stroger was having difficulties collecting the thousands of signatures necessary to make the ballot, his campaign spokesman, Sean Howard, acknowledged. Stroger had originally geared up to run for commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District and will proceed with that plan.
Speaking with WVON-AM’s Cliff Kelley Monday afternoon, Stroger said the signature requirement in place to get on the ballot for Cook County Board president “is designed to keep as many people out as they can, instead of keeping people in.”
“If we had two more weeks, we would be at a number where they wouldn’t be able to knock us off,” Stroger said. “But we just didn’t have enough time to get enough signatures.”
Stroger said the number of signatures needed to get on the ballot for the Water Reclamation District was about the same needed to get on the Cook County Board ballot.
He didn’t say why he was more confident in the signatures needed for the Water Reclamation District, but Kelley suggested Stroger’s signatures would’ve been put under greater scrutiny than those submitted to run for a seat on the Water Reclamation District.
“He’s not running and it’s just became the challenge of gathering 25,000 signatures in order to withstand a challenge from one of our opponents would have been very taxing on the campaign,” Howard said.
“And you need 8,000 but you have to turn in quite a few more, right at the 25,000 mark, which he gave himself as an internal goal. We didn’t quite reach the 25,000.”
“We were just a little bit under our internal goal but we had well beyond the required amount for Water Reclamation District. So he’s very content, happy and satisfied to run for Water Reclamation District because he wants to do a good job.”
When he announced his run for board president, Stroger cited the outcry over the since-repealed penny-per-ounce soda tax that Preckwinkle pushed as a primary reason for his political comeback attempt.
“I felt vindicated when they had to bring the whole tax back,” Stroger said of the soda tax.
Former Ald. Bob Fioretti did file to challenge Preckwinkle in the Democratic Primary. The only Republican to file for the office was Andrew C.M. Nelson.
Contributing: Sam Charles