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  Last year more people used the County's forest preserves than visited Yellowstone National Park.

GOP County Commissioners Aim for Stroger's Seat

Sunday, February 22, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
by Steve Patterson

Let the Democrats tiptoe around the delicate subject.

Two high-profile Cook County Republicans are using all the subtlety of a sledgehammer in letting Cook County Board President John Stroger know they're putting a target on his seat next year.

Riverside's Tony Peraica and Liz Gorman of Orland Park say they'll likely vie for board president as Republican nominees.

Forget the Republican also-rans of the past, they say, because they've got bipartisan support to come at Stroger, who they say is the most vulnerable he's been in his 10-year presidency.

"I plan on running, and if Liz runs, the more the merrier -- we usually have some hapless sap thrown to the wolves, so it would be refreshing," Peraica said. "There's been a clear lack of leadership, as this government has been on auto pilot and President Stroger is the absentee landlord."

While Gorman stopped short of saying she'll be a GOP candidate, she admitted, "I have been approached and I do have an interest in it."

It's been eight years since Aurelia Pucinski gave the GOP a shot in the arm with a presidential run, and 37 years since Richard Ogilvie actually held the office. But Gorman said, "There needs to be some type of change in leadership -- everybody, Democrats and Republicans, realize that much."

While Gorman takes the approach of being recruited for the job, Peraica is more forceful, already making announcement plans. Peraica has also been more vocal at board meetings, though he sometimes alienates fellow commissioners, even Republicans.

Gorman has picked her fights -- the most visible being with the Cook County Forest Preserve District, also run by Stroger.

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