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Preckwinkle: Here's the Real Claypool/Berrios Backstory

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Preckwinkle: Here's the Real Claypool/Berrios Backstory
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Toni Preckwinkle has been getting it from the right and the left (and Ward Room) for her alliance with Joe Berrios, the Democratic Party’s nominee for Cook County Assessor.

Roger Keats, Preckwinkle’s Republican opponent for Cook County Board president, says her support for Berrios makes her “the candidate of the status quo” and “part of the Chicago machine.”

And progressive Democrats who consider Preckwinkle one of their own are disappointed that she’s not supporting Forrest Claypool, who launched an independent candidacy last month.

“I’ve been a Democrat my entire adult life,” Preckwinkle told Ward Room. “I’m not just a Democrat, I'm a Democratic committeeman. When I decided I wanted to run for county board president, I got in the Democratic primary, at a time when I fully expected that Forrest Claypool was going to be a candidate. Everything I’d heard was that he was going to be a candidate. And he decided not to, for reasons known only to him, although we speculate that he thought this health care start-up would be immensely profitable and perhaps provide him with the resources to run for office subsequently. But then, what we’ve heard anyway, is that the venture capitalist who was backing this plan decided to fold it in January. And then Forrest didn’t vote in the Democratic primary in February and decided to run.”

When Preckwinkle declared her candidacy in December 2008, she tried to get Claypool’s endorsement. It took her nine months to get a meeting with Claypool, and another month to get an answer, she said.

“He called me back about a month later and said that he had decided he was going to take no position in the race,” Preckwinkle said.

So when Claypool announced he was running for assessor, he wasn’t in a position to ask Preckwinkle for an endorsement. And he didn’t.

“He called me and told me he was running,” Preckwinkle said. “I thanked him for telling me that. That was the gist of our conversation.”

That’s her response to liberals. Her response to conservatives? The Republicans have plenty of “interesting” candidates of their own.

“The Republicans have as their lieutenant governor candidate a person who’s in his twenties who has absolutely no experience and from what I understand, couldn't answer Phil Ponce’s questions on Chicago Tonight about how the Republicans were going to balance the budget," Preckwinkle said. (She was talking about this interview.)

"Brady, I think, if you look at his record is extremely conservative. So if Sen. Keats’s notion is that he's going to run against Joe Berrios, maybe I should decide I’m going to run against Bill Brady.”

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