Democrat Kaegi easily wins Cook assessor's seat

  • Fritz Kaegi

    Fritz Kaegi

Updated 11/6/2018 11:34 PM

In the spring primary election, newcomer Fritz Kaegi won the Democratic primary, beating incumbent Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios and the heavyweight Democrats who supported the incumbent.

On Tuesday, Kaegi coasted to victory in the general election, easily defeating Republican challenger Joseph Paglia.


With 95 percent of precincts reporting, unofficial results showed Kaegi leading with 1,151,931 votes to 365,949 for Paglia.

Kaegi, a mutual fund asset manager from Oak Park, ran on a campaign to make property tax assessments more fair. Under Berrios, the system often gave breaks to wealthier homeowners while putting more of the burden on lower-income neighborhoods, investigations by the Chicago Tribune and ProPublica showed.

Paglia, who was slated by the Republicans after the primary, ran a nearly invisible campaign, declining to attend newspaper endorsement interviews.

Kaegi won the Democratic Party nomination last spring in an intense three-way race where exposure of how the office's operation shifted the property tax burden from wealthier homeowners to lower- and middle-class families was a key issue. Berrios, a fixture in the Democratic Party machinery, was chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party.

Kaegi promised to employ a proven model to produce fair and accurate assessments, to address flaws that allow commercial properties in downtown Chicago to be assessed below value and to refuse campaign contributions from tax appeal lawyers. Kaegi, who was born and grew up in Chicago, and spent 13 year valuing assets as a financial manager at Columbia Wanger Asset Management.

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