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Is Tuesday a primer for Gorman mayor bid?

Cook County Commissioner Elizabeth Doody Gorman (front) celebrates with friends family while watching electiresults come Nov. 2 2010. | Sun-Times

Cook County Commissioner Elizabeth Doody Gorman (front) celebrates with friends and family while watching election results come in Nov. 2, 2010. | Sun-Times Media file photo

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Updated: January 23, 2012 2:08AM



The Orland Park mayoral race isn’t on the ballot for another two years.

But by all accounts, Tuesday’s election stands as a primer for a potential 2013 match-up between Mayor Dan McLaughlin and Cook County Commissioner Elizabeth Doody Gorman.

Now, before you flood my email with ornery notes, let me add that Gorman insists she is not interested in running for mayor. She is savoring her November 2010 re-election to the Cook County Board, spending time in Florida and relishing her non-campaign schedule.

“No, I am not interested in running for mayor, although I have had a lot of people ask me,” Gorman said.

I prodded her, and she added: “I have plenty of time to think about it. Right now, I have a cordial relationship with (McLaughlin).”

Yet, she is bitter about last year’s faceoff with Orland Fire Protection District President Patrick Maher, son of Orland Park clerk David Maher, who tried to unseat her. McLaughlin, longtime friends with the Maher family, backed them.

“He ran someone against me. I never ran someone against him,” Gorman said.

She went on to describe McLaughlin and his slate of trustee candidates as “a bunch of crybabies.”

So there you have it. I feel a race coming on.

Gorman may claim to be on the sidelines for Tuesday’s election, but she personally put together the Fiscal Voices slate, which includes Molly McAvoy Flynn, Steve Williams and John Brudnak.

The only warning flag about this group is a loose tie to House Speaker Michael Madigan, which I’ve written about previously.

Flynn and her family — like many Orland families — moved from Chicago to the suburbs. Her friends are city dwellers who are helping her campaign. They aren’t necessarily Madigan’s machine, she claims.

But I can assure you: When she ran for state representative last year, some of the men who circulated her petitions were squarely in Madigan’s spokes. They are the kind of guys who muddy-up elections with shenanigans, such as fake candidates, sign-pulling and misleading literature.

One good source said last week Madigan’s army is helping Fiscal Voices, too. Two weekends ago, about 30 Madigan workers distributed Fiscal Voices’ literature.

But the candidates, and Gorman, deny it.

“No,” said Williams, a former auditor who, if elected, has pledged to refuse campaign contributions from anyone doing business with Orland Park. “We are getting help from many places, but not Mike Madigan. He’s given $30,000 to (McLaughlin) over the years, so it would be crazy if he was supporting us against the mayor’s group.”

McLaughlin is supporting the United Party slate.

“There are a lot of positive things happening in Orland,” McLaughlin said. “Ed Schussler, Pat Gira and Carole Ruzich will be a great team.”

Claims that the village overspends are unfounded, he said.

“Eighteen years ago, we had 325 full-time employees. Today we have 250, even with all the growth. We are constantly cutting costs,” McLaughlin said. “We’re doing a huge project at 143rd and LaGrange without much help from the state. We’re finding ways to get things done.”

And McLaughlin and Madigan have never been close. McLaughlin endorsed Forrest Claypool over Madigan’s guy, Joe Berrios, for Cook County assessor. He also supported former Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias instead of Madigan’s pick.

McLaughlin is more independent. He doesn’t always play ball. He doesn’t schmooze. And he doesn’t kiss Madigan’s tush.

So perhaps Madigan is playing footsie in Orland Park to get rid of McLaughlin.

Either way, the Fiscal Voices candidates, who are running on a Republican, conservative agenda of fiscal restraint, say they are not tied to Chicago Democrats and would owe them nothing, should they win.

“The United Party is trying to create an issue because they can’t rebut the issues we are raising,” Williams said. “It’s a red herring.”



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