Brown wins court clerk race

 
 
Updated 3/21/2012 12:26 AM
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  • Dorothy Brown

    Dorothy Brown

  • Ricardo "Rick" Munoz

    Ricardo "Rick" Munoz

Chicago Democrat Dorothy Brown is looking toward a fourth term as clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County, following a victory in Tuesday night's primary.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, unofficial results show Brown with 263,356 votes, or 67 percent, compared to challenger Ricardo "Rick" Munoz, with 127,733 votes, or 33 percent. Munoz called Brown to concede, said Pete Dagher, Brown's campaign manager.

"This means that Dorothy Brown can continue the reform that she started 11 years ago," Dagher said.

While no Republican candidates ran for the office in Tuesday's primary, it's still possible one could run against Brown in November's general election.

Brown's office employs about 2,100 people who are responsible for keeping records for Cook County's court system, one of the largest in the world. Brown plans to continue modernization efforts in the office, such as improving public access to court records. She wants to work with Cook County Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans to establish a paperless courtroom and to expand electronic filing of court documents, she said.

She was buoyed by endorsements from the Cook County Democratic Party and the Independent Voters of Illinois -- Independent Precinct Organization, among others.

Munoz said he wanted to reform the office and "weed out corruption." Munoz has criticized Brown's failure to implement e-filing countywide during her tenure. He was endorsed by County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Appellate Court Judge Aurelia Pucinski.

Munoz also criticized Brown for accepting contributions from her employees. Munoz said 33 employees contributed more than $34,000 to her campaign. Brown's campaign said Munoz is wrong, and her campaign manager Peter Dagher countered that even if it were true, it would represent a little more than 1 percent of total contributions to Brown since she first ran for office. Dagher said Brown's office does not track whether employees donate.

He said Munoz has accepted tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from city contractors and vendors. Munoz campaign manager Andrew Sharp disputed that charge, calling Dagher's comments a "cynical attempt to distract voters from her (Brown's) own history of corruption."

•Daily Herald Staff Writer Barbara Vitello contributed to this report.

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