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Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle presides over a Cook County Board Meeting in May. File Photo. | Chandler West/For Sun-Times Media

County commissioners switch votes, rehire erstwhile contractor

Turning a popular political saying on its side, a majority of Cook County commissioners on Wednesday were against it before they were for it.

Illinois Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, ask questions during a committee hearing at the Illinois State Capitol in January 2013 in Springfield. | Seth Perlman/AP

Kwame Raoul, Emil Jones eyed as possible mayoral contenders

Exclusive: Sneed is told that top African-American business and civic leaders are scheduling a meeting in August with Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, who has formed an exploratory committee, but a top source tells Sneed that state Sen. Kwame Raoul should be regarded as a “bona fide contender.”

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle explains why she will not be running for mayor of the City of Chicago. | Richard A. Chapman/Sun-Times

Karen Lewis: Preckwinkle decision 'changes the playing field'

Karen Lewis says Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s decision to rule out a run for mayor “changes the playing field.” But the outspoken teachers union president was not yet ready to suit up and join the game herself.  “It certainly is a huge change,” Lewis said on Tuesday in a phone interview. However, Lewis said Preckwinkle’s decision would not influence her own game plan.

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis is hugged by a supporter outside Chicago Board of Education headquarters at 125 S. Clark St. in 2013. File Photo. | Rich Hein~Sun-Times

Exclusive poll: Karen Lewis could give Rahm run for his money

For the past couple of weeks, Karen Lewis has been saying she is “seriously” considering running for mayor. It turns out voters are taking the fiery Chicago Teachers Union president’s potential candidacy seriously as well, based on a surprising new Early & Often poll.

How would Mayor Rahm Emanuel fare against other potential candidates? | Sun-Times file photo

Is there a challenger who could beat Rahm?

The Chicago Readers' Mick Dumke and Ben Joravsky lay out what Toni Preckwinkle, Karen Lewis, and Robert Fioretti need to do to take down the mayor.

Toni Preckwinkle can get a standing ovation, but can she get the votes if she runs for mayor? Or is the applause more about voter frustration with Mayor Rahm Emanuel? | Sun-Times File Photo

What does the applause for Preckwinkle mean?

Toni Preckwinkle, president of the Cook County Board, got a standing ovation Monday at the White Eagle Banquet Hall in Niles. Meaning? Quite a bit, I’d say, considering Preckwinkle is getting increasing pressure to run against Rahm Emanuel in 2015.

“We’ve got some work to do in building support among the Democrats in the majority and securing Republican support” for her worker pension reform measure, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle (pictured in February) said Wednesday at a news conference after a County Board meeting. | Chandler West/For Sun-Times Media

Preckwinkle to try for pension reform again after fall election

After passing the Illinois Senate, the bill got bottled up in the House during the waning days of the session. Not enough majority Democrats got on board with the measure, which also needed nominal support from Republicans to pass. “After the election I think is a good time to try to do this,” Preckwinkle said, addressing the issue during a news conference after a Cook County Board meeting. “I think it’s easier for people to cast difficult votes after elections.”

County sources say Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle forced out her Springfield lobbyist after the failure of her pension reform bill. | Sun-Times File Photo

County lobbyist out after failure of Preckwinkle's pension bill

Just weeks after Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s pension reform measure failed to move forward in Springfield, the county’s lobbyist at the capitol is out of work. Derek Blaida resigned from his job on Friday, said Preckwinkle spokeswoman Karen Vaughan, who added that “we're grateful to him for his years of service," but declined further comment.   

State Rep. Dan Brady, R-Normal, center, walks down the center aisle while on the House floor during session at the Illinois State Capitol on Friday. | AP Photo

Budget, session don't jibe with Quinn's re-election platform

SPRINGFIELD — Gov. Pat Quinn laid out an ambitious platform for his 2014 re-election bid earlier this year, calling for a minimum-wage increase, an extension of the 2011 temporary income tax hike and $500 property-tax rebates for homeowners. Things have changed since then.

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