Our endorsements for Cook County Board primary races
District 9, Democrats: Trevor
The Democratic primary for Cook County commissioner of the 9th District -- which includes parts of Elk Grove Village, Wheeling and Palatine, and Maine Township, and which will be vacated by Peter Silvestri after 28 years -- features four candidates: Des Plaines police records clerk Heather Anne Boyle of Norridge, soil testing company owner Sam Kukadia of Chicago; Frank L. McPartlin of Palatine, who's held Cook County executive jobs in the past; and market research company owner Maggie Trevor of Rolling Meadows.
Boyle has not held office before and has not participated in forums with the other candidates. Kukadia has been involved in several community, business and political organizations, and he touts his business experience and union values. McPartlin, who's run before for county board, has a wealth of experience in county business and thinks a lot of it could be conducted better.
But we are most impressed with Maggie Trevor, a student of Cook County government and a literal student of government overall, with a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago, who has refreshingly well-researched ideas for the county. Trevor is endorsed.
District 9, Republicans: Podgorski
Seeking to hold onto Silvestri's county board seat for Republicans are security contractor Frank Coconate of Chicago, former Forest Park village council member Mark Hosty, of River Forest, and business executive Matthew Podgorski, of Chicago.
Coconate has strong views of county government, such as wholly revamping the sheriff's office (with a nod to mental health services) and even the county budget. But the other two candidates' more collaborative and professional touch would accomplish more.
Hosty would bring a good business and finance background, as well as his work as a village official. Podgorski has been heavily involved in the Republican Party and has more wide-ranging ideas for Cook County, while also realizing he would have to compromise with the Democrat-heavy county board. Podgorski is endorsed.
District 15, Republicans: Cerniglia
Accountant Kevin Ake of Elk Grove Village, and mail and shipping company owner Chuck Cerniglia of Hoffman Estates are running for the chance to unseat Democrat Kevin Morrison in the 15th District, which goes into Schaumburg, Elk Grove Village, Hanover Park, Hoffman Estates, South Barrington, Palatine, Des Plaines and Elgin.
Both believe the county is not giving the Northwest suburbs their due.
Cerniglia has experience with the Schaumburg Township Republicans and is starting to develop ideas on what the suburbs need. Ake's political experience is limited and some of his views are extreme. He has a hate-crime conviction from 20 years ago in which he was accused of harassing a lesbian YMCA director; he says he's done his time for it, which is true, but his views on the LGBTQ community rightfully have drawn the condemnation of leading county Republicans. Cerniglia is endorsed.
District 17, Democrats: Calandriello
Former Orland Park Trustee Dan Calandriello and LaGrange Trustee Lou Gale are seeking the Democratic nomination to unseat Republican Sean M. Morrison in the 17th District, which includes parts of Des Plaines, Elk Grove Village, Bensenville and Elmhurst.
Both attorneys are thoughtful and qualified candidates, with similar thoughts on addressing crime and helping businesses. For the latter, Gale emphasizes infrastructure improvements. For the former, Calandriello touts his experience as an assistant state's attorney. But Calandriello also presents more detailed ideas on, among other things, supporting businesses while not pushing the tax burden to residents. Calandriello is endorsed.
District 17 Republicans: Gorman
Taking on Sean Morrison is Elizabeth "Liz" Doody Gorman, who held the District 17 seat before Morrison did and has held other noteworthy positions since, including the Illinois tollway's executive director.
Morrison, since being appointed to the District 17 seat in 2015 (with Gorman's support), himself has reached the lofty position of Cook County Republican Party chairman.
Both are well-versed in county government and have gotten things done even on a Democrat-heavy board.
Gorman says she wants to take back the office because of Morrison's "unacceptable personal, professional and political conduct." Gorman is not the first to accuse Morrison of extreme views or a combative nature. Gorman, meanwhile, was part of controversial hiring and contract procurement practices under the Bruce Rauner administration while she was the tollway's top administrator, prompting a look by the state Senate. Tollway officials maintained everything was legal and ethical.
A controversy involving Morrison arose in the 2018 county board election when it was learned that an executive at his company was charged in 2013 with solicitation to meet a child, and that executive was charged with the crime again in Colorado after Morrison, in 2014, asked a judge to let the exec travel on business. Morrison did ultimately fire the executive and said he cooperated in his arrest.
So, both candidates have flaws in their histories. Now in 2022, one consideration for Republicans is the ability to hang on to a county board seat when they're hard to come by for Republicans in Cook County. Morrison narrowly defeated a Democratic newcomer in 2018; his Democratic opponent would be stronger this year. Gorman still has a lot of influence in the 17th District, and she touts a need to cooperate with Democrats to accomplish more for Republicans' interests.
With her more moderate approach, Gorman is endorsed.