one incumbent gets to elect herself (when she votes), in kind of a surprise. dorothy brown, our circuit court clerk, drew not a single challenger. it may be a thankless task, so that explains the lack of a republican or green party challenger, but dorothy, you may remember, ran against da mayor last february. some speculated, because she announced before jesse decided if he'd get into the race, that she was a plant, drawn into the race to dilute the black vote. well, she didn't exactly make the mayor mad. the fact that she draws no opponent will not dampen that speculation.
the local race everyone is likely to watch is the open seat for state's attorney. tom allen, alderman from the 38th ward, has already posted here. assistant state’s attorney anita alvarez offers perhaps the best credentials out of that office: she "oversees the day-to-day operations of more than 900 assistant state’s attorneys in eight different divisions handling felony prosecutions and civil actions." howard brookins, alderman of the 21st ward, is seen by many as the front runner, having hired mike noonan to run his campaign and gotten perhaps the earliest start. cook county commissioner larry suffredin has forrest claypool's endorsement and looks to be running a similar kind of reform campaign. assistant state’s attorney bob milan was in line by 9, but got the last spot out of the lottery. tommy brewer, also a evanston resident, completes the ballot for state's attorney.
candidates in the state's attorney's race have already been making the rounds. carl's proviso probe points to this video of the candidate forum at the proviso township democratic organization. anita alvarez and tommy brewer both drew challenges to their paperwork, and will be forced to deal with that before concentrating on their campaigns. brewer appears to be most likely to get thrown off the ballot (speculation based on other people's comments). alvarez claims that someone who works for howard brookins is the person who challenged her petitions "at the last minute." this story appeared on the local abc station as i write this.
the county democratic party could not agree on a candidate to slate in this race, since neither brookins, allen nor suffredin could manage a clear majority:
Among the committeemen, Brookins got 107,904 in weighted votes, Allen 90,861, and Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin 66,522. Anita Alvarez, the third-in-command at the state's attorney's office, got one committeeman's vote for 4,875. Her boss, First Assistant State's Attorney Bob Milan, got none, as did lawyer Tommy Brewer and state Transportation Department Chief of Staff Clayton Harris III.
Seven committeemen rose to speak for Allen, and six spoke on Suffredin's behalf.
Allen has locked up support from many of Chicago's unions, and Suffredin said he was the best candidate to face Republican Tony Peraica in the fall. Brookins said he's not afraid of stepping on toes.
this was probably the biggest blow to brookins, who thought he had the votes to win. at this point, there seems to be a concensus that this race will come down to brookins and alvarez, if she can raise enough money to be competitive. that speculation assumes that suffredin and allen will cancel each other out. this will definitely be one of our primary races to watch in february. what i will be paying attention to is which of these candidates plant their flag in the other competitive races (such as IL-03) -- areas likely to see higher turnout than the rest of the county.
on the republican side, tony peraica drew an opponent in edward barron. both republicans have seen objections to the paperwork they filed with david orr's office.
another race that has the potential for getting competitive will be that for cook county recorder of deeds. as carl knows, karen yarborough has been chasing eugene moore out of office, and there was some speculation that she would challenge moore for this one. when i asked her about that, she laughed. "too much work," she said. "i already have one (unpaid) position that is like that." instead, she is backing ed smith, alderman of the 28th ward, who is the last of the independents elected with harold washington in 1983. smith probably made the most ernest run at an incumbent during the slating meeting, but fell short. our favorite machine plant, john t. kelly, has also jumped into this race. both kelly and smith have received objections to their filing.
an even lesser known race, if that's possible, is the cook county board of review. two seats (the 2nd and 3rd districts) are up in 2008, and both incumbents are running for re-election. but only cook county democratic chair, joseph berrios, drew a challenger. i don't think it will surprise anyone that challenger jay paul deratany has objections filed against him, in the hopes of knocking him off the ballot. welcome to chicago!
finally, we are in for a lively race for the metropolitan water reclamation district. after deb shore brought interest to this race from progressives in cook county, i think people look at this as a real office worth running for. as such, we got a lot of candidates running for the three seats open in 2008.
there are eleven democrats who filed to run for the mwrd commission this february. starting of the ballot will be diane jones, who ran for chicago city clerk this last february. a mwrd employee (at least, she was), diane had the singular distinction of winning "a third of the votes and beat[ing Miguel] del Valle in every African-American ward by margins of 200 to 2,000 votes.” next on the primary ballot will be the democratic slate of incumbents kathleen meany [pdf] and frank avila and perennial candidate dean maragos. next comes kathleen o’reilley, who benefits from the irish-sounding (could be irish -- what do *i* know!) name -- a plus in the chicago area. then we'll see the other incumbent, cynthia santos [pdf]. cynthia apparently lost the party's endorsement because she "went on vacation during slating." lacking an independent power base, this may be a fatal blow to santos' re-election hopes. finishing out those who submitted their petitions during the opening minute is mariyana spyropoulos, who has already blogged here. completing the democratic primary is ronald oliver of chicago, marlon rush of lansing, matthew podgorski of park ridge, and derrick stinson of chicago.
every single candidate for the mwrd has been challenged. i'm unfamiliar with more than half of these candidates, so i'll let someone else create the odds: "The outlook: Jones, Meany and O'Reilley are the early favorites, primarily because of their gender and surnames."
finally, the green party has put together a full slate of candidates for the mwrd: nadine bopp, rita bogolub and john ailey. these candidates have also had their filings challenged.