Stroger wins primary

by Dave Schuler on March 23, 2006

John Stroger has won the primary election for the Democratic nomination for Cook County Board President against challenger Forrest Claypool:

Overwhelming margins in Chicago wards and low voter turnout propelled three-term Cook County Board President John Stroger to a Democratic primary victory even as he lay in a hospital bed recovering from a serious stroke.

In conceding defeat Wednesday, challenger Forrest Claypool said not enough of his suburban supporters made it to the polls. He said that widespread problems with voting machines delayed but did not influence the outcome of the election.

“I knew what we were up against,” said Claypool, who received about 48 percent of the vote to Stroger’s 52 percent with 88 percent of precincts reporting. “We were challenging virtually all of the power brokers in Cook County and Chicago.”

At a union hall news conference late Wednesday, Ald. Todd Stroger, the son of the ailing board president, said his father, 76, had been informed of the outcome.

“He’s aware of the victory,” Todd Stroger said. “He’s just happy.”

Stroger’s win focuses attention on the incumbent’s medical condition. It also raises the prospect that the party’s nominee for the November general election could ultimately be selected Democratic committeemen in Chicago wards and Cook County townships if Stroger chooses to retire or cannot continue to serve.

Stroger will, no doubt, go on to win the general election regardless of the state of his health. I wonder who will serve out his term. We’ll have to wait to see who the ward bosses appoint to the job.

Note that I’m not, as Mayor Daley put it, “pronouncing him dead”. I’m just facing facts. Here’s a reference on predictors in stroke recovery with a good bibliography. Predictors for recovery include age, general state of health, the severity of the insult, and the elapsed time before beginning rehabilitation.

We don’t know the details of Mr. Stroger’s condition. Since the stroke more than a week ago they’ve characterized his condition as “serious but stable”.  He is, IIRC, 76 years old, is significantly overweight, and has diabetes and a history of cardio-vascular problems.  Experience suggests that his five year survival likelihood is pretty good.  I suspect that it’s reasonable to conclude that a significant amount of his time and energy for the foreseeable future will be devoted to recovery and rehabilitation.  That suggests to me that he won’t be returning to work any time soon.

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