Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx has primary opposition
Under fire for her office's handling of the Jussie Smollett case, Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx will have competition on the spring Democratic primary ballot as she seeks to return for her second four-year term.
Foxx and challenger Bill Conway, a former prosecutor, filed paperwork at the first opportunity Monday to get in the March 17 primary in Cook County. A third potential Democratic candidate for state's attorney, ex-prosecutor Donna More, did not file nominating petitions on the first day.
Former Cook County Circuit Judge Pat O'Brien and Christopher Pfannkuche, who have said they are Republican Cook County state's attorney candidates, also did not file Monday. Foxx beat Pfannkuche in the 2016 general election to become the county's top prosecutor. Candidates have until 5 p.m. next Monday to file petitions to run for office.
Candidates also are lining up to run for Cook County circuit court clerk. With Dorothy Brown having announced in August that she wouldn't seek reelection, four Democratic candidates submitted their paperwork Monday: lawyer Jacob Meister, state Sen. Iris Martinez, former Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin and Cook County Board of Review Commissioner Michael Cabonargi.
In the state's attorney's race, Foxx addressed the Smollett case in a statement conceding that she "didn't handle it well" and is making changes in her office. The actor was accused of staging a racist and homophobic attack against himself earlier this year in Chicago while shooting the television show "Empire."
"There are voices who oppose change," Foxx said. "Those voices won't tell you that on my watch, we're prosecuting more violent crimes, not just low-level offenses. That gun prosecutions are up. That we're a national model for reform."
Conway is a former Cook County assistant state's attorney now working as an adjunct professor in finance at DePaul University and running a family-driven investment fund focused on growth equity, venture capital and public market investments. He was deployed to Afghanistan and Qatar as a U.S. Navy intelligence officer.
He targeted Foxx with a statement in October after a Cook County judge declined to replace a special prosecutor looking into why her office abruptly dismissed charges against Smollett, rejecting concerns that campaign money could taint the findings.
Conway said Foxx cannot be counted on to prosecute politically connected individuals. He said that would not happen if he's elected state's attorney.
"For far too long, politics has ruled the Cook County state's attorney's office," Conway said.
The North Suburban Association of Chiefs of Police, representing about 30 departments, announced in April it has "no confidence" in Foxx's abilities as state's attorney.
However, Foxx campaign spokesman Peter Giangreco pointed to Illinois Democratic leaders who support her public safety and criminal justice initiatives, including U.S. Sens. Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin, Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
Other filings Monday found keen Democratic primary interest in three seats for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. The 10 candidates were incumbents Frank Avila, M. Cameron "Cam" Davis and Kimberly Neely Du Buclet, and challengers Patricia Theresa Flynn, Heather Boyle, Eira L. Corral Sepulveda, Michael G. Grace, Kim L. Dulaney, Mike Cashman and Eddie Ngozi Nwosu.
Democrats Tammy Wendt and Abdelnasser Rashid filed to get on the primary ballot for Cook County Board of Review, 1st District. Republican incumbent Dan Patlak of Wheeling also filed.