Todd Stroger announces bid for Cook County Board President

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) – Ex-Cook County Board president Todd Stroger is attempting a political comeback.

Stroger announced a bid for his former role on Good Day Chicago Monday morning.

Stroger served as Cook County Board president for four years before he was unseated by current board president Toni Preckinkle seven years ago.

He took over the role as Cook County Board President in 2006 after succeeding his late father John Stroger, Jr.

Stroger left county government in 2010, defeated on what Preckwinkle called, the "Stroger Sales Tax." His penny increase in sales tax was unpopular and cost him the presidency.

Preckwinckle is now under fire for the penny per ounce sweetened beverage tax which was repealed and ends December 1.

Stroger seemed very bitter after his defeat in 2010 but says he wants to restore good health to the county budget and feels he was doing a good job when he was president.

"In these last 7 years, I've found a lot of people have come up to me and they're like, 'You know what, we see what's happened, we see how the county was in good shape,'" Stroger said.

He says the public now knows what it takes to run the county and that many people have apologized to him and told him he was doing a good job.

"Even some of the writers like Mark Brown who was very critical of me at the time wrote an article later saying, 'Well, I guess he was right, we should apologize to Todd Stroger because that penny really did what it needed.'"

In response, Preckwinkle's camp released a statement saying, "After inheriting a broken system as Cook County Board President, Toni Preckwinkle closed budget deficits of more than $2 billion, cut wasteful spending and improved the county's bond ratings."

Political operatives believe Preckwinkle is vulnerable. She is seeking a third term as board president next year.

Though he has name recognition and the right background, Stroger is jumping into what's already a crowded race.

Former Chicago alderman Bob Fioretti will also challenge Preckwinkle in 2018. He was a two-term alderman and ran unsuccessfully for Chicago mayor.

Fioretti says this remains a race about taxes and voter dissatisfaction. He says both candidates, their first response is to raise taxes. It takes new leadership to lead the county.

Right now the candidates are racing to collect signatures to be placed on the ballot. The deadline is December 4. The primary is in March.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.