Cook County Commissioner Forrest Claypool announced he would mount an independent campaign for Cook County Assessor yesterday, setting up a battle between the reformer and Cook County Democratic party boss Joe Berrios for the position.
Surrounded by Congressmen Mike Quigley and Jesse Jackson, Jr., as well as Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer, Claypool, a resident of the Graceland West neighborhood, made his announcement at the Hotel Allegro in Downtown Chicago.
Claypool’s candidacy was recognized Tuesday morning by editorials in both the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune and was given a boost by complaints by current Cook County Assessor Jim Houlihan March 31 that Berrios was working to delay mailing Cook County property tax notices till after the November general election in a bid to defuse voter anger. Democrat Houlihan praised Claypool in that press conference.
Berrios, who currently serves on the Cook County Board of Review, was selected by the Democratic party to run for the Assessor position in the February 2nd primary, winning 39 percent of the vote in a three-way race. Claypool needs to file at least 25,000 valid signatures by June 21 to successfully run as an independent for the position. Signature gatherers were already working the loop Tuesday afternoon following Claypool’s announcement.
Republican candidate Sharon Strobeck-Eckersall and Green Party candidate Robert Grota are also running for the office.