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Ex-Judge O'Neill Burke Wins Chicago Prosecutor Race

With few votes left to be counted and a mathematically insurmountable lead, former Illinois appellate Justice Eileen O’Neill Burke declared victory, with a slim majority of primary voters electing her to be the Democratic nominee for Cook County state’s attorney, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. After almost two weeks of uncertainty, O'Neill Burke edged out Clayton Harris III for the nomination with mail ballots tallied Friday sealing the most hotly contested race of the primary 10 days after polls closed. “It was worth the wait. I am so honored to be the Democratic nominee for Cook County state’s attorney," O'Neill Burke said. "I’d like to congratulate Clayton Harris on a hard-fought campaign. While we may have had our differences in this election, we share a love for our beautiful city and Cook County." About an hour after O'Neill Burke declared victory, Harris conceded. Now, O’Neill Burke will enter the fall campaign season as the favorite over Republican Bob Fioretti and Libertarian Andrew Charles Kopinski in the general election to succeed Kim Foxx.

The bruising primary fight between Harris and O’Neill Burke was viewed in many circles as a referendum on Foxx’s progressive policies, which have drawn criticism from the right as being soft on crime, and praise from the left as addressing generations of inequity in the criminal justice system. Preliminary precinct totals showed Harris drawing support in many of the same areas Foxx did in her 2020 reelection campaign, with broad support on the South and West sides, and along the North Side lakefront. O’Neill Burke ran up massive margins on the Northwest and Southwest sides, while also outperforming Harris in the suburbs. In appealing to suburban voters and centrist Democrats in the city, O’Neill Burke tried to position herself as the tough-on-crime candidate — but she essentially ran on a progressive platform herself, joining Harris in embracing many Foxx policies that have rankled conservatives. The former judge said she supported expanding restorative justice alternatives to prosecution and praised Foxx on her office’s review of alleged wrongful convictions.


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