Retired judge enters Democratic battle for state’s attorney, Davis picks up handful of congressional challengers
Eileen O’Neill Burke, a retired Illinois Appellate Court judge and a former Cook County assistant state’s attorney, filed more than 13,000 signatures to run as a Democrat for Cook County state’s attorney — the last day candidates had to file petitions for the March primary.
By Tina Sfondeles
Democrat Eileen O’Neill Burke carries in her petitions to run for Cook County state’s attorney Monday.
The race to succeed Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx is shaping up to be a battle between a candidate blessed by the Cook County Democratic Party and a retired judge who prides herself on being a fair jurist but “a terrible politician.”
And U.S. Rep. Danny Davis could face up to five Democratic challengers in the March 19 primary.
Eileen O’Neill Burke, a retired Illinois Appellate Court judge and a former Cook County assistant state’s attorney, filed more than 13,000 signatures on Monday afternoon to run as a Democrat for Cook County state’s attorney.
It was the last day candidates had to file petitions with the Illinois State Board of Elections and the Cook County Clerk’s Office.
Should the candidates survive potential petition challenges, Burke will face Clayton Harris III, a public policy professor and former political aide, who last week said he filed more than 27,000 petition signatures — more than five times the required amount. Harris received the support of the Cook County Democratic Party in August.
Clayton Harris III, a former prosecutor and political aide, files nominating petitions with the Cook County Clerk’s office last week.
Burke said she’s running to “restore our faith in the justice system because nobody thinks this is working.”
“I am a terrible politician. I will tell you that, first and foremost,” Burke said shortly before dropping off her petitions.
“I am a judge, and as judges we are evaluated on whether we are fair, whether we follow the law and whether we have good judgment. That’s exactly what we need in a prosecutor. And that’s exactly what people are looking for right now. They’re looking for someone who knows the system and knows how to fix it.”
Burke, whose campaign had $214,427.81 cash on hand, said she is not concerned about going up against Harris in fundraising. Harris has $174,057.96 on hand.
Democrat Eileen O’Neill Burke holds up her receipt for nomination after handing in petitions to run for Cook County state’s attorney on Monday.
“I am getting a lot of support throughout the county, from people, everyday people, union members, rank and file members of those unions,” Burke said. “I’m getting support from people throughout the county. So no, I’m not worried about that at all.”
Former Ald. Bob Fioretti filed more than 8,000 signatures to run as a Republican candidate for state’s attorney about 30 minutes before Burke.
Fioretti, who served as 2nd Ward alderman from 2007 to 2015, previously launched unsuccessful bids for mayor, state Senate, Cook County state’s attorney and Cook County Board president.
Former Chicago Ald. Bob Fioretti carries in his petitions to run for the Republican nomination for Cook County state’s attorney on Monday.
Fioretti called next year’s contest “a critical race determining which way the direction of the county is going to go.”
“I think it’s time we stop coddling the criminals, and we make sure the victims and the citizens of this city and county are protected,” Fioretti said. “And when I say that, not just in crime, but also in the corruption that’s happening.
Former Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin last week announced he would not be running for state’s attorney.