Cook County sheriff's candidates off ballot after Supreme Court declines to hear cases
Then there were two. In the Democratic primary for Cook County sheriff, only incumbent Tom Dart and Sgt. Noland Rivera remain in the race now that the Illinois Supreme Court has declined to hear appeals from candidates Carmen Navarro Gercone and LaTonya Ruffin, both of whom challenged lower court rulings removing them from the ballot.
In a social media message posted late Monday, Gercone acknowledged "the Carmen for sheriff campaign is over."
"When we got into this, we did it for the right reasons," said Gercone, a Cook County sheriff's deputy who headed the court services/civil division under Dart.
"I ran on my record," she added, while expressing gratitude for her supporters. "I truly wanted to make a difference and those who supported me, believed in me, believed in this campaign and also wanted to make a difference."
Last month, Gercone challenged the Cook County Board of Elections' decision to remove her from the June 28 primary ballot after the board determined she lacked the proper law enforcement certification required under 2021's SAFE-T Act. She prevailed when a circuit court judge ruled in her favor.
But the First District Appellate Court reversed that decision last week and ordered Gercone's name removed from the ballot.
Gercone, who is on leave from the sheriff's office and works for the office of the Cook County clerk of the circuit court, appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court, which declined to hear her case.
A representative for Ruffin, a Dolton police office, also confirmed that the state's high court declined to hear her appeal to remain on the ballot.
That leaves Dart, who is running for a fifth term, and Rivera, a 28-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, as the remaining Democratic candidates.
In her social media post, Gercone insisted she possesses the proper qualifications for the office. Describing herself as a law enforcement professional and not a politician, she said she believed her campaign posed a threat to Dart and the Democratic machine.
In response to the latest developments, Dart campaign spokesman Joe Ryan said "it is incredibly important this issue is clarified so voters know they are voting on candidates who are legally authorized to hold the office."
"Sheriff Dart had nothing to do with passing this law," Ryan said, "but he is nonetheless bound by it as every other candidate for sheriff."