Progressive Democrats from around campus met last Wednesday in Cobb to create a new student organization to support Forrest Claypool for Cook County board president.
The group, Students for Claypool, begins amidst the approaching March 21 primary election that will decide the Illinois Democrats nominee for Cook County board president. The successful candidate in the election will not only lead the second largest county in the U.S., but also handle services that affect five million people as well as wielding a budget of $3 billion.
Students for Claypool has organized an initiative to garner votes called Get Out The Vote (GOTV). As part of GOTV, students have pledged to be precinct captains and to find 20 votes for Claypool. The short-term goal for the group is to get 25 successful precinct captains, bringing a total of 500 votes.
Students for Claypool does not plan on running any fundraisers; but instead plans to focus on finding votes in the surrounding community.
Michael Carroll, deputy press secretary of the Claypool campaign, expressed his support for Claypool at the Students for Claypool meeting. He said that supporting Claypool would be good not only for Cook County, but for the Democratic Party nationally. Annie Sanders, a fourth-year in the College and environmental studies major, said she supports Claypool because of his success as superintendent of the Chicago Park District.
A Chicago Sun-Times poll on January 25 reported that Claypool and the incumbent John Stroger were neck-in-neck and predicted that the election may be decided by a few thousand votes.
Claypool began his political career in Chicago as the head of the Chicago Park District in 1993. More recently, Claypool was one of the first elected officials to endorse Barack Obama for Senate, and was also one of Obamas closest advisors in the 2004 election.