Though beleaguered by the controversial and recently repealed sweetened beverage tax, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle will face only one challenger and not two in her March 20 bid for the Democratic nomination for another term.
Former Chicago Alderman Bob Fioretti filed his candidacy petition Monday, but one-time County Board President Todd Stroger backed out of his declared intention to reclaim the office. Instead, Stroger filed for a spot on the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago board.
A spokesman told the Chicago Sun-Times that Stroger was having difficulty collecting the thousands of signatures necessary to get on the ballot for board president that could withstand a petition challenge.
Preckwinkle won the nomination and office from Stroger in 2010 after strongly criticizing the 1-percent sales tax increase he backed that was later repealed during her presidency.
In a written statement Monday, Fioretti referred to the tax controversies that have surrounded Preckwinkle and Stroger.
"The insiders who have run Cook County government for decades have finally ruined it," he wrote. "We seem to lurch from one budget crisis to another. Sadly, we learned that in Cook County, a penny earned is not a penny saved. It is a penny taxed."
Preckwinkle's campaign also put out a statement Monday, noting the endorsement of some 200 faith and community leaders at an event in Chicago's Hyde Park, and her "accomplishments of closing budget deficits of more than $2 billion, cutting wasteful spending, and dramatically reducing the current inmate population to less than 6,400 daily."
Andrew C.M. Nelson of Chicago was the lone Republican to file for board president.
Another countywide primary that became contested Monday was for sheriff, with former 2nd District state representative Eddie Acevedo and criminal defense attorney John Fairman challenging incumbent Tom Dart for the Democratic nomination. No Republican filed for the office.
A Democratic primary battle emerged in the Cook County Board's 17th District between Abdelnasser Rashid of Justice and Steve Spagnolo of Willow Springs. Rashid is deputy chief of staff in Clerk David Orr's office and Spagnolo is a campaign field organizer. The winner will face Republican incumbent Sean Morrison of Palos Park. The district takes in parts of Des Plaines, Elk Grove Village and Rosemont.
The 15th District primaries stood as they did on the first day of filing last week, with incumbent Timothy Schneider of Bartlett uncontested for the Republican nomination, and Ravi Raju of South Barrington and Kevin B. Morrison of Elk Grove Village facing off in the Democratic race. The district includes parts of Arlington Heights, Barrington, Elgin, Elk Grove Village, Hanover Park, Hoffman Estates, Mount Prospect, Rolling Meadows, Streamwood and Schaumburg.
Democrat Scott R. Britton filed for the 14th District seat to challenge Republican incumbent and fellow Glenview resident Gregg Goslin in the November general election. Britton is a Glenview village trustee. Uncontested primaries are shaping up for both hopefuls, barring any write-in candidates. The district includes areas of Arlington Heights, Barrington Hills, Buffalo Grove, Deerfield, Glenview, Inverness, Northbrook, Northfield, Palatine, Prospect Heights, Rolling Meadows and Wheeling.
In the 9th District, a general election contest is forming between Republican incumbent Peter Silvestri of Elmwood Park and fellow Elmwood Park resident Frank McPartlin, who ran and lost to Silvestri in 2014. The district includes parts of Arlington Heights, Des Plaines, Mount Prospect, Prospect Heights and Rosemont.
A crowded field of Democrats emerged for county clerk, after Orr's announcement this summer that he wouldn't seek an eighth term. Running are current Recorder of Deeds Karen Yarbrough, Orr's office spokesman Nick Shields, attorney Jan Kowalski McDonald, and Stephanie Joy Jackson-Rowe, CEO of the Christian Aerobics & Fitness Association.
Democratic contests also appeared for county treasurer and assessor. CPA Peter Gariepy of Chicago is challenging Treasurer Maria Pappas.
Assessor Joseph Berrios is being challenged by Fritz Kaegi of Oak Park, a partner and investment committee member at Social Venture Partners Chicago, and Andrea Raila, a property tax analyst.