Monday, September 14, 2009

Maher says he's endorsing McCarthy, has nothing to do with trustee's possible race

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Orland Fire Protection District President Patrick Maher, a candidate for the 17th Cook County Board seat now held by Commissioner Liz Gorman, says he has nothing to do with a possible candidacy of fellow OFPD trustee James P. Hickey running for state representative.

Petitions are being circulated to place Hickey's name on the Feb. 2, 2010 Democratic primary ballot in the 37th House District, challenging incumbent State Rep. Kevin McCarthy. Some of those petitions are being circulated along with petitions for Maher in Orland Park. (I haven't had a chance to speak with Hickey to find out if he is circulating them or if backers are trying to draft him.)

But Maher says he has "nothing to do with it."

Protested Maher, "I’ve emailed my petitions to hundreds of people … I can’t control who else they are getting signatures for. If my signatures are with anyone elses that does not mean I am working with them or supporting them. I have my  own organization. I am getting support from leaders of the community."

Maher also made it clear he backs McCarthy for re-election. "I’m supporting Kevin McCarthy for State Representative and I will continue to support Kevin McCarthy. He (Hickey) hasn’t talked to me, or, as far as I know, to the Democratic Committee in Orland Township. This is the first I heard he is running."

Maher expressed shock that Hickey might consider running for another elected office after having only been recently elected to the OFPD board of trustees.

"I am astounded that he would consider running for this position," he said.

Maher received the endorsement for his candidacy from the Cook County Democratic Organization. he also has the backing of several unions.

(I have calls in to Hickey to explore why he might be running this soon after winning office to the OFPD.)

UPDATE: State Rep. Kevin McCarthy called me back to say that he was contacted by House Speaker Michael J. Madigan's office this morning about the report, but when I passed along Maher's comments, he said he was "appreciative. I can work with him."

"I'm busy working on pension reform legislation and have some meetings on it this week. It's important to the taxpayers," McCarthy said. "I met Hickey and heard his petitions are out there. I met him once."

-- Ray Hanania

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