Chicago tightens its political grip on suburban taxpayers

Chicago tightens its political grip on suburban taxpayers
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Chicago tightens its political grip on suburban taxpayers

Cook County Commissioner Sean Morrison defeated County Board President Toni Preckwinkle in the Nov. 6, 2018 election, beating back a challenge from first time candidate Abdelnasser Rashid. Morrison won by securing his base in the Southern end of the 17th District, winning Orland, Palos, Worth, Lemont and Lyons by landslide margins.

By Ray Hanania

راى حنانيا Ray Hanania

راى حنانيا
Ray Hanania

Illinois Republicans lost several seats in Congress and the General Assembly but the biggest loss came for suburbanites in Cook County.

Driven by anger and less about politics, a vindictive Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle has been on a post soda-pop tax repeal rampage.

Preckwinkle pushed through the one-cent per ounce tax on sweetened drinks and soda pop Nov. 10, 2016, thinking it clever to delay the tax until July 1, 2017 hoping to give voters time to forget. But taxpayers did not forget and the public’s anger was deafening.

Preckwinkle was forced to cast a tie-breaking vote to approve it, 9 to 8, against strong opposition from the suburbs. To retaliate, Preckwinkle put targets on five of her eight foes beginning with two Democrats in the March 20, 2018 Democratic Primary, Commissioner John Fritchey of Chicago and Richard Boykin of Oak Park.



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Preckwinkle ignored Chicago Democrat Bridgette Gainer, and suburbanites centrist Republican Peter Silvestri, and Democrat Jeff Tobolski.

Fritchey, the first and only Arab American ever elected to the Cook County Board was defeated by Bridgette Degnen. Suburbanite Boykin was defeated by Brandon Johnson from Chicago.

After the March 20 primary, Preckwinkle took over as the Cook County Democratic Chairman, succeeding her close ally and friend Joe Berrios, who didn’t run for re-election as Party Chairman after losing the County Assessor race to Fritz Kaegi.

Preckwinkle dug deep into the Democratic Party coffers targeting three suburban Republicans in the Nov. 6, 2018 General Election, defeating two. Gregg Goslin of Glenview lost to Democrat Scott Britton and Timothy Schneider of Elk Grove Village lost to Kevin Morrison.

Cook County Commissioner Sean Morrison leads coalition to repeal repressive Preckwinkle tax on sweetened drinks and soda pop Aug. 9, 2017. Photo courtesy of Commissioner Sean Morrison

Cook County Commissioner Sean Morrison leads coalition to repeal repressive Preckwinkle tax on sweetened drinks and soda pop Aug. 9, 2017. Photo courtesy of Commissioner Sean Morrison

But Preckwinkle directed her rage at Palos Township Republican Committeeman Sean Morrison, the Commissioner from the 17th District who orchestrated the soda pop repeal.

In one of the greatest mockeries of Arab Americans empowerment, Preckwinkle backed an Arab American Muslim Abdelnasser Rashid against Morrison claiming herself as a champion of Arab and Muslim rights. But it was Preckwinkle who threw out the only Arab American to ever hold County Board office, John Fritchey.

Despite receiving nearly $300,000 in in-kind donations from Preckwinkle, Rashid lost decisively to Morrison by 1,639.

On the national level, the divides are clearly partisan, Republicans versus Democrats. On the local level, the divide is between the suburbs and Chicago, with Chicago bosses like Preckwinkle constantly seeking ways to make-up Chicago’s shortfalls by taking money from suburban pocketbooks.

The real surprise is how easily Chicago politicians bullied their way into the suburbs. Suburban voters stumbled, possibly distracted by the tsunami of mudslinging over President Trump on the national level.

Morrison is a “Republican” in the national sense. He’s an anti-Tax, anti-Big Government public servant who succeeded another anti-tax centrist Republican, a popular Reagan Democrat, Liz Gorman, who stepped down in July 2015 to take a private sector job.

Gorman fought the one-cent sales tax imposed by Preckwinkle’s predecessor, Todd Stroger. Preckwinkle campaigned against Stroger denouncing the sales tax hike but increased the sales tax hike after she became County Board President.

Rashid suffered from poor campaign management, and a blurred message that barely addressed the voter’s real concerns. Morrison lost the northern part of the district, which stretches like a bowling alley from Wheeling in the north to Orland Park in the south, but won the south by huge landslide margins including in Orland Township, Palos Township, Worth Township and Lemont Township.

Rashid sought to tap support from a growing Arab American community in those Southwest Suburban townships. He even hammered Sharon Brannigan, who apologized for insensitive comments about Middle Easterners in advocating an immigration crackdown.

Yet voters in Orland, Lyons, Lemont, Worth and her own Palos Township, where Brannigan is a trustee, voted overwhelmingly for Morrison and rejected Rashid’s narrowly focused message. The vicious attacks against Brannigan actually empowered Morrison’s strong base. Voters were sick and tired of the angry bullying that obstructed Palos Township board meetings, and the protestors refusal to accept her genuine apology.

Rashid’s landslide loss in the Southwest suburbs empowers both Morrison and Brannigan moving forward into the Spring elections.

Rather than empower Arabs and Muslims, Preckwinkle threw out the only elected Arab Cook County Commissioner, Fritchey, empowered Morrison, and vindicated Brannigan. Preckwinkle also threw the interests of suburban taxpayers under her Chicago bus without even a second thought.

(Ray Hanania is an award-winning former Chicago City Hall political reporter and columnist. Hanania can be reached on his personal website at or by email at


Rashid lost by 1,639 votes out of 120,000 total votes cast … but he really lost big in the Southwest suburbs of Orland, Palos, Worth, Lyons, Lemont … but won big in the north suburbs


Bremen Rashid won by 5 votes
Elk Grove Village Rashid won by 275 votes
Leyden Rashid won by 353 votes
Main Rashid won by 2,465 votes
Proviso Rashid won by 4,006 votes
Riverside Rashid won by 983 votes

Lemont Morrison won by 1,739 votes
Lyons Morrison won by 1,496 votes
Orland Morrison won by 3,611
Palos Morrison won by 2,064
Worth Morrison won by 816

In the 6 North Suburban Townships, Rashid won by 8,087 votes
In the 5 South Suburban Townships, Morrison won by 9,726 votes

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at, and at, and at He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper,, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.

The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.

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