Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Brown Beats Muñoz for Court Clerk

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Listen as the incumbent clerk thanks her supporters for a second chance to run the biggest court clerk office in the nation. (Published Tuesday, Mar 20, 2012)

    It was a hotly-contested race for an office that doesn't often get a whole lot of attention, but at the end of the day it doesn't look like voters wanted change. 

    Dorothy Brown, the incumbent clerk of the Cook County Circuit Court, defeated her challenger, Ald. Ricardo Muñoz (22nd) in Illinois' primary election in what turned out to be a nasty race filled with accusations and mud slinging. With nearly 90 percent of precincts reporting, Brown led with 64.7 percent of the vote. 

    Rick Muñoz Concedes the Clerk's Race

    [CHI] Rick Muñoz Concedes the Clerk's Race
    Watch as the Alderman discusses his election night loss, and what it means for the reform movement. (Published Tuesday, Mar 20, 2012)

    Brown addressed the tone of the campaign in her victory speech.  

    "Lies and insults don't work. Today, voters are smarter than that. Today, you the voter's lined-up on the right side, the Dorothy Brown side and I won't let you down."

    Neither candidates' records are free of blemishes, and voters were asked to choose which self-proclaimed reformer better appealed to them: a three-time incumbent who defends herself against allegations of patronage and missing records or a City Council member who had problems with the law in his youth, was appointed alderman (and since re-elected) and who two years ago admitted he was an alcoholic.

    Throughout the campaign, Muñoz, who had a significantly smaller warchest, said he could run the clerk's office better than Brown. He specifically pointed to the slow adoption of electronic filing of documents.

    Brown defended herself, saying her office is hampered by Illinois Supreme Court restrictions. She said she feels her staff -- about 2,000 people -- does a good job with what they have.

    Both candidates were backed by strong Democrats. Brown had Gov. Pat Quinn and Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan in her corner. Muñoz was backed by former Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.