Vallas decides against run for Cook County board
Former Chicago Public Schools chief Paul Vallas has decided not to run for Cook County Board President as a Republican after floating the idea for months.
Vallas said today he needs to stay in New Orleans and "finished what I started" running the school district there.
"It is going to take me another solid year down here and I don't want to jeopardize the progress we made by leaving too early," he said.
Vallas had also floated a bid for governor but dropped that after it become clear he wouldn't be able to leave his post in New Orleans early enough to run a competitive statewide campaign.
After leaving the Chicago schools, Vallas ran for governor in Illinois in 2002 but lost the Democratic primary narrowly to Rod Blagojevich in a three-way race with Roland Burris. He floated a run for governor again in 2006, but backed out. After his 2002 race he took a position running the Philadelphia school district and then moved on to New Orleans.
His family still lives in Chicago and he commutes to his work in Louisiana.
Illinois Republican Party officials had been heavily lobbying Vallas and promoting his potential bid for a post the GOP rarely has a shot at winning in the heavily Democratic county.
Cook County GOP Chairman Lee Roupas said Thursday other candidates have been pondering a run and they see the post as winnable next year given the public's dissatisfaction with the sales tax hike under county board President Todd Stroger, a Chicago Democrat.
Potential GOP candidates include state Sen. Matt Murphy of Palatine and a second run by Cook County Commissioner Tony Peraica of Riverside.