McDonald fallout prompts Cook County Democrats to reconsider endorsement in State's Attorney's Race

 
 
Updated 1/8/2016 6:16 PM
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As the fallout over the Cook County state's attorney's handling of the Laquan McDonald case continues, Democratic committeemen are reconsidering an earlier decision not to endorse a candidate for the seat in the March 15 primary.

Tom Jaconetty, longtime general counsel for the Cook County Democrats, confirmed Friday that several committeemen have asked party Chairman Joe Berrios to reopen the endorsement process in the state's attorney's race.

The picture has changed dramatically since August, before current State's Attorney Anita Alvarez was put in the spotlight over accusations of mishandling the investigation of the shooting of a 17-year-old black teen by a Chicago police officer. The party moved then not to back a candidate in the three-woman race.

Alvarez now faces the fight of her political life against two challengers -- Donna More, a former federal prosecutor, and Kim Foxx, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle's former chief of staff. Preckwinkle is a Democratic committeeman and has called for Alvarez to resign.

Alvarez announced first-degree murder charges against officer Jason Van Dyke in late November, more than a year after the October 2014 shooting, saying she was focused on conducting a "thorough" investigation that included involvement from federal investigators. Both of her opponents said they would have handled the case in a more efficient and transparent manner.

Jaconetty said several committeemen have requested the endorsement process be reopened. Notices were expected to be sent to committeemen over the weekend to attend a meeting Thursday at party headquarters in Chicago, where candidates will again present their credentials before committeemen enter a closed-door meeting and vote on who to endorse.

With party rules requiring a winning candidate to secure more than 50 percent of the weighted vote of committeemen, it's possible no endorsement will be made the second time around.

Joanna Klonsky, Foxx's campaign spokeswoman, praised the unprecedented measure. "The decision demonstrates the growing recognition that Cook County's criminal justice system is broken," Klonsky said.

More, meanwhile, issued a statement blasting the move as "an attempt by Democratic Party bosses to reopen the slating process for the express purpose of selecting Kim Foxx."

The Alvarez campaign wasn't immediately reached for comment.

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