Cook County Democrats endorse Foxx for state's attorney
Democratic committeemen in Cook County moved Thursday to abandon an earlier decision not to endorse a candidate for state's attorney in the March 15 primary, with County Board President Toni Preckwinkle making a successful push for the party's backing of her former chief.
Chairman Joe Berrios said the 50 Chicago ward and 30 suburban committeemen moved by "acclamation" and selected Chicago attorney Kim Foxx by a voice vote.
The speed with which the endorsement was made was evidence of the work Preckwinkle, the party's executive vice chairman, had made in securing support for Foxx. The meeting concluded in less than an hour.
Both Foxx and fellow challenger Donna More, a former federal prosecutor, made pitches to committeemen at party headquarters in downtown Chicago before members went into a closed-door executive session. Two-term incumbent Anita Alvarez did not make an appearance, but later in the day she held a news conference with women and men she's represented in violent crime cases, calling them "the real victims of violence."
Committeemen supporting Foxx described the decision as a direct byproduct of the fallout over the Alvarez's handling of recent police misconduct cases. Alvarez, along with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and former Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, has been in the spotlight in recent months over accusations of mishandling the investigation of the October 2014 shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald by a Chicago police officer. The officer was charged with first-degree murder more than a year later.
Foxx, in her presentation to committeemen, said the "amplification" of the misconduct cases has resonated around the world. She said the county justice system had become an embarrassment.
More, meanwhile, urged committeemen to stick with their earlier decision not to endorse a candidate, citing the move to reopen the slating process as simply an attempt by Preckwinkle to protect her political power base.
"I'm not here today seeking your endorsement," More said. "I think politics has already done enough to damage our criminal justice system."
Standing in the hallway outside during the committeemen's private vote, More described the endorsement as a "done deal" for Foxx. She later asked a staff member if they could leave before the decision was announced.
Alvarez, too, said she was not "surprised by any stretch of the imagination" by the party's move and said she did not believe it would damage her re-election bid. "What's important is the endorsement of the real people in Cook County," she said.
Alvarez maintained that neither of her opponents would know how to "open a file and start an investigation on a police shooting."
"It's easy to be the Monday morning quarterback," she said, "I stand behind my decision to bring in the FBI and do a joint investigation with the U.S. attorney's office ... those things take time."
Preckwinkle on Thursday said she felt her backing would ultimately help Foxx in the race.
"I have supported a lot of good people. I feel strongly this is the best person for the job," Preckwinkle said, noting "her poll numbers are good and my own personal poll numbers are good."