Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Paul Vallas for County Board President

First we had Ald. Toni Preckwinkle running against Todd Stroger and now we have former schools CEO Paul Vallas running for that position except this time as a Republican.

From Carol Marin:
Paul Vallas is ready to run again. "Cook County is broken, and I like fixing things that are broken."

The speed-talking, reform-minded maverick who was CEO of Chicago Public Schools under Mayor Daley, then lost the 2002 gubernatorial primary to Rod Blagojevich by just 25,000 votes, went on to make a national name rescuing school districts in Philadelphia and New Orleans.

Now, he told the Chicago Sun-Times, he is coming home for good at the end of the year to run for president of the Cook County Board in 2010.

Not as a Democrat, which he has been all his life, but as a Republican.

For the kinetic Vallas who thrives on challenge, it will be that and more.

The last Republican to win that office was Richard Ogilvie in 1960, and since that time, Cook County has only become more Democratic. Then again, in politics, timing is everything. Just as the implosion of now-imprisoned Gov. George Ryan opened the door to the Democrats after 26 years of Republican rule, the scandal surrounding Rod Blagojevich and the economic crisis that consumes government in Cook County present a rare shot for this state's beleaguered GOP. And party leadership seems ready to take it, unbothered by Vallas' lack of Republican credentials.

"I think he'd be an excellent candidate," House Republican leader Tom Cross said by phone Tuesday. "He'd be great for Republicans, great for Cook County, [with] impeccable credentials, substance and integrity."
Via Rich Miller who didn't think that Vallas would pull the trigger.

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