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updated: 3/19/2014 6:19 AM

Dart easily wins nomination for re-election

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Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart won the Democratic nomination in his bid for a third term Tuesday, easily outpacing the three other candidates in the primary.

Unofficial vote totals show Dart had 172,262 votes to 35,440 for William "Bill" Evans, his closest opponent Wednesday morning, while Sylvester Baker had 25,097 votes, and Tadeusz "Ted" Palka 15,200.

No one filed to run for sheriff on the Republican side.

Dart said he is happy with the results.

"We think the voters know what we are about and what we're working on," he said.

One of those issues is human trafficking for prostitution, which includes a lot of activity in hotels around O'Hare Airport, said Dart. He added his office is a leader in the country in fighting forced prostitution.

Evans, a lieutenant in the sheriff's department, was disappointed Tuesday.

"I'm a cop, not a politician," said Evans. "I hope we've raised some concerns about the way the office is run with the lawsuits against the sheriff and the issues of the jail."

Dart's three opponents are active or retired members of the Sheriff's department.

Evans has 23 years on the force. Baker and Palka retired with about 21 and 30 years, respectively. All three argued that the sheriff's office needs to be led by a career law enforcement person.

Dart's campaign to get treatment for people with mental illness in the community rather than incarcerating them has garnered national attention.

Taking over law enforcement for a few impoverished South suburban communities that can't afford their own police has been another major part of his work, he said.

The candidates agreed that overcrowding contributes to problems at the Cook County jail, which has been under federal oversight since 1980.

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