“I’m deeply grateful to have had the opportunity to create transformational change in Cook County over the past decade and look forward to what we can accomplish in the next four years,” Preckwinkle said in a statement. “I am running for re-election to continue this good work and see through some of our long-term initiatives.”
Those initiatives include a “sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and continuing the county’s racial equity work,” the statement said.
After serving as alderman of Chicago’s 4th Ward since 1991, Preckwinkle was first elected to head up the board in 2010, edging out Democratic primary challengers like Dorothy Brown and incumbent President Todd Stroger. She won with 70% of the vote in the 2010 general election and ran unopposed in 2014. In the 2018 primary, she beat former 2nd Ward Ald. Bob Fioretti with 60% of the vote, then went on to run unopposed in the general election.
Her electoral fortunes ran out in 2019, when Preckwinkle faced Lori Lightfoot in the mayoral race. She ended up losing in the runoff with just 26% of the vote.
In 2018, after winning re-election—despite her support of an unpopular tax on soda—Preckwinkle had said her third term would be her last. She changed her mind after losing the mayoral race, saying her run helped her realize “there were a lot of things I still wanted to do.”
Preckwinkle, 74, who is also chair of the Cook County Democratic Party, is the only declared candidate in the race for board president so far. There’s time for challengers to jump in: The Democratic primary is not until June.
The Cook County Board president oversees the 17-member board of commissioners and the county’s roughly $6 billion budget. Preckwinkle is credited with helping steady the county’s financial ship after Stroger’s tenure and helping bolster Cook County Health, one of the nation’s largest public health networks. She’s also largely won peace with board members—two of whom are Republicans—in part by helping unseat critics.