‘Become a One-Issue Campaign': Anita Alvarez Speaks on Laquan McDonald Case, Run for Re-Election

Since the public outrage over the handling of the case surrounding Laquan McDonald’s shooting by a Chicago police officer, Alvarez's re-election has been in question

Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez calls herself a fighter, and perhaps for good reason.

Since the public outrage over the handling of the case surrounding Laquan McDonald’s shooting by a Chicago police officer, her re-election has been in question.

"Unfortunately this campaign has become a one-issue campaign,” Alvarez said, “and there are so many other issues we should be talking about."

Still, Alvarez has faced tough criticism for waiting more than a year to charge the officer involved in the shooting, though she has maintained no mistakes were made in the handling of the case.

“The Laquan McDonald case has brought a national spotlight to Cook County,” Kim Foxx, Alvarez’s opponent, said. “But sadly Cook County has been in the spotlight for criminal justice issues a lot in the last several years."

Foxx won the backing of the Democratic Party, but it's Donna More who is raising the most pointed questions.

"My one opponent, Anita Alvarez, has proven over the last seven years that she has no leadership within the criminal justice system and within her own office," More said.

More is also critical of Foxx.

"[Foxx] hasn't tried thousands of cases, she's tried one jury,” More said. “She has been found guilty of violating the election laws to get the job to be the top prosecutor to enforce the law."

Foxx is counting on the uproar over the McDonald case to push her through this tough political battle.

"There's a lot of angst, there's a lot of concern on who do we turn the page on this very dark chapter,” she said.

But Alvarez says she’ll keep fighting.

“I feel very strong in my ability to run this office,” she said, “my qualifications and my experience, and that's why I certainly will never back down."

A lot of money has been thrown into the state’s attorney contest, with each candidate raising more than $1 million. In fact, when all is said and done it's likely to add up to a $5 million campaign.

More also points out that Foxx let her law license lapse while she was an administrator for Cook County. Foxx's spokesman responded by saying she was not practicing law then, instead working on criminal justice reform. Foxx renewed her license before filing to run for state's attorney.

“Kim became Chief of Staff of the Cook County Board President’s office to focus on criminal justice reform. Because she was not practicing law at the time, like many other attorneys, she voluntarily placed her license in inactive status, but has since reactivated her license.” 

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