In a campaign stop Friday night, Toni Preckwinkle, Democratic candidate for president of the Cook County board, wowed a crowd at Molly Malone’s Irish Pub, 7652 Madison.

“She just kind of blew people away,” said Oak Parker Dan Lesser, a member of the host committee, who compared Preckwinkle’s visit with the impression then-Senate candidate Barack Obama made at an Oak Park fundraiser in 2004. “I have not seen anything around here like that since then.”

The alderman from Chicago’s 4th Ward met with about 200 local residents, mostly from Oak Park, River Forest and Forest Park, for two hours in what members of the host committee, which included Hilda Schlatter and Paul Sakol (pictured), called a “friendraiser.”

Preckwinkle spoke about the need for openness in county government and addressed issues of affordable housing.

“She talked about the lack of transparency with regard to the county’s budget process and rolling back and ultimately eliminating the county’s sales tax increase,” said Ray Johnson, a member of the Oak Park Village Board of Trustees, who also was on the organizing committee for the event.

-Bob Skolnik