Democrats continued their domination of Cook County's top elected offices Tuesday, with incumbents State's Attorney Anita Alvarez and Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown appearing to sail to victory with considerable margins.
With about 98 percent of precincts reporting, unofficial election results also showed Democrats prevailing in races for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District board and recorder of deeds.
Defying the trend was Wheeling Republican Dan Patlak. Vying for a second term on the Board of Review -- a three-member panel that hears property tax appeals from homeowners -- Patlak, 50, had a slight lead over Democratic challenger Casey Griffin, 52, of Midlothian.
Unofficial returns late Tuesday night showed a close race, with Patlak receiving 298,084 votes or 51.5 percent compared to 281,080 votes or 48.5 percent for Democrat Casey Griffin of Midlothian.
Patlak says his experience as a Wheeling Township assessor and the sole Republican on the board make him the best candidate for the position.
Griffin, who currently serves as the Deputy Cook County Recorder of Deeds, says the office must be more transparent and wants all of the board's decisions posted online.
Alvarez, who sought a second term as the county's lead prosecutor, held a sizable lead all night over her Republican opponent Lori Yokoyama, a private attorney specializing in civil litigation. Unofficial results showed Alvarez with 1,347,802 votes or 77 percent compared to 396,339 votes or 23 percent for Yokoyama.
Alvarez cited her efforts to improve public safety by helping to steer legislation to protect victims of sex trafficking; provide stiffer penalties for known street gang members arrested in possession of a loaded weapon; and anti-racketeering measures targeting street gangs as reasons for voters to return her to office. Yokoyama, of Chicago, claimed the office has become politicized under Alvarez. Specifically, Yokoyama criticized Alvarez's handling of the investigation into the 2004 death of 21-year-old David Koschman of Mount Prospect, following an altercation outside a Chicago bar with Richard "R.J." Vanecko, the nephew of former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. Alvarez was not in office at the time of Koschman's death or during the original police investigation.
The race for clerk of the circuit court of Cook County amounted to a rematch between three-term Democratic incumbent Brown and Republican Diane Shapiro, who retired in 2009 after working 30 years for Cook County, the last 15 as an adult probation officer.
Unofficial results showed Brown with 1,219,888 votes or 70 percent compared to Shapiro's 509,926 votes or 30 percent.
Shapiro has blasted Brown for accepting campaign contributions from subordinates and from vendors doing business with the clerk's office, whose 2,100 employees are responsible for keeping the records for Cook County's unified court system, which is among the world's largest. Brown has insisted she complies with all campaign finance laws and enforces the Cook County Board of Ethics policy prohibiting officials from compelling contributions from employees.
In the Cook County recorder of deeds race pitting a political newcomer against a former state representative, the experienced politician came out ahead.
Democrat Karen Yarbrough, a former state representative from Maywood, received 1,240,154 votes or 74 percent, with Sherri Griffith, a sales and marketing professional from Chicago, receiving 438,522 votes or 26 percent.
The recorder of deeds maintains public records related to homeownership. Eugene "Gene" Moore, who held the office since 1999, did not seek re-election.
Of the eight candidates vying for three seats on the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District board, unofficial results put Democrat Debra Shore, of Evanston (the only suburbanite on the ballot) as the top vote-getter with 1,009,895 votes or 26 percent, followed by fellow Democrats Kari Steele with 865,406 votes or 23 percent and Patrick Thompson with 840,683 votes or 22 percent.
Republican Carl Segvitch received 320,541 votes or 8 percent. Republican Harold "Noonie" Ward received 313,949 votes or 8 percent.
Rounding out the ballot, Green Party members Dave Ehrlich earned 189,213 votes, Karen Roothaan had 178,456 votes and Nasrin Khalili had 109,991 votes.
Charged with ensuring the quality of the water supply, protecting against floods and managing water as a resource, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago encompasses about 883 square miles comprising the city of Chicago and 125 suburban communities.