Cook County Race-Baiting

Stroger, Davis play their cards

By Steve Rhodes
|  Tuesday, Oct 13, 2009  |  Updated 11:47 AM CDT
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Chicago Style Twins

Congressman Davis

Danny K. Davis is running for two offices.

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You don't need a white candidate to play racial politics in Cook County.

You just need Danny Davis and Todd Stroger.

Davis said on Sunday that according to his own poll he's the front-runner for the Cook County board presidency - which is funny, because my own poll shows I'm the front-runner.

Anyway, Davis's motive in making the announcement was to get out in front of an endorsement from a group of ministers backing Stroger in part to rally African Americans around a single candidate.

But Davis's poll announcement drew an immediate response from the campaign of Toni Preckwinkle, who is also African American.

"Congressman Davis is trying to suggest that he is the strongest black candidate in this race," Preckwinkle said in a statement. "He's trying to play on the same old divisive politics we've come to expect from County government. However, this race is about selecting a leader who can represent the interests of every community and bring the real and responsible change we need to Cook County."

Preckwinkle didn't raise the fact that Davis is also still running for re-election to the U.S. House so I will: What do those polls show, Danny? Pick a race and stick with it. Otherwise some folks might think you're purposely trying to divide the anti-Stroger vote to help your pal and then return to the U.S. House. After all, you're also running for re-election there.

Meanwhile, a third African American candidate, Dorothy Brown, is still trying to shake off her bungling an ethics proposal while white Irish guy Terry O'Brien supposedly lies in the weeds, though O'Brien probably wouldn't have a shot at winning this primary if Roland Burris were his only opposition.

As Kristen McQueary wrote recently in the Southtown Star, it's understandable for any voting bloc to try to unify around a candidate.

On the other hand, though, it would be a lot more satisfying to hear what each candidate proposes doing to help improve the lives of their base of supporters, because we've learned time and again that those two things aren't the same - no matter what color the candidate is.

Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.

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