general election

Ward Room Campaign Round-Up: Week 1

A preview of important upcoming elections for Cook County and the state of Illinois

This is the first edition of the Ward Room’s Campaign Round-Up, a weekly posting dedicated to keeping voters informed about the state and county’s upcoming 2016 elections. Check the Ward Room blog for continued coverage every Tuesday.

Illinois Senate Race

Republican Sen. Mark Kirk faces an uphill battle in his quest for re-election. Over the past year, he has faced a handful of scandals, from being caught calling Sen. Lindsey Graham a "bro with no ho" to attacking the Chicago Tribune for a story that was not yet published.

Kirk recently became the first Republican senator to co-sponsor the Equality Act. The act builds on past civil rights legislation, banning discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

“Discrimination on the basis of being gay is against the law in Illinois and should be against the law nationwide,” the Republican senator said in a statement.

James Marter, Kirk’s opponent in the Republican primary, was recently endorsed by Congressman Trent Franks, a Republican from Arizona. Franks is the Chairman of the House Sub-Committee on Constitution and Civil Justice.

“Incumbent Mark Kirk repeatedly disregards the Constitution,” Franks said.

Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth is considered the frontrunner in the Democratic primary race.

Last week Duckworth attended a rally in Rockford that attracted over 100 supporters. At the rally, Duckworth discussed her plan to help middle class and poor families.

“When people say that poor people are poor because they’re lazy, they’re wrong,” said Duckworth.

Duckworth also discussed fraud and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid and the lack of cost-of-living increases within the Social Security system.

Duckworth will face former Urban League President and CEO Andrea Zopp and State Senator Napoleon Harris in the Democratic primary.

The Reverend Jesse Jackson endorsed Zopp on Sunday.

“I support her unequivocally,” said Jackson. “She is a woman of personal integrity and impeccable credentials.”

Jackson also called for additional public debates leading up to the democratic primary in March.

“Electing a U.S. Senator should not be a closed-door process,” said Jackson. “It should be open to the voters.”

State Senator Napoleon Harris recently opposed the Republican plan for the state of Illinois to take control of Chicago Public Schools.

Harris lauded Senate President John Cullerton’s Monday speech at the City Club of Chicago that focused on education funding reform.

“Affording children a quality education has been one of my priorities since becoming a state senator,” said Harris in a statement on his website.

Veterans Party candidate Chris Aguayo will participate in the South Lakeview Neighborhood Candidate Forum at the Athenaeum Theater on Feb. 9.

Primary elections for the race will be held March 15 with a general election being held Nov. 8.

Cook County State’s Attorney Race

Anita Alvarez, who was first elected to the seat of Cook County State's Attorney in 2008, is running for re-election amid countless calls for her resignation in the wake of the Laquan McDonald dashcam video release. This year's election will be Alvarez's first contested run in the Democratic primary in eight years.

Alvarez faces protege and former Assistant State's Attorney Kim Foxx as well as former federal and state prosecutor Donna More in the March 15 election.

Foxx secured another high-profile endorsement after courting the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees Council 31. AFSCME Council 31 is the largest county employee, representing roughly 21,000 workers.

Foxx has already racked up some impressive endorsements including Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, SEIU Local 73 and a handful of aldermen.

More recently spent over $50,000 on campaign ads. More has donated over $250,000 to her own campaign.

Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court

Clerk Dorothy Brown, who has served as county clerk for 15 years, lost the endorsement of the Cook County Democratic Party amid reports of a federal investigation.

Brown will host a Super Bowl party at the Millionaire’s Club on Feb. 7.

The incumbent Brown faces opposition from Ald. Michelle Harris and attorney Jacob Meister in the March 15 election.

Michelle Harris received the endorsement of the Cook County Democratic Party. She is scheduled for Beat meetings at the Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy headquarters on Jan. 26-28. She is also scheduled to meet with constituents on Feb. 1.

Jacob Meister was endorsed by New Trier democrats Sunday.

Meister spoke at the 47th Ward forum Monday about “social justice and transparency in the Court Clerk’s office.”

Meister will attend the Judges & Lawyers for Jacob Meister fundraiser on Feb. 8. The event will take place at Chicago law firm Flamm, Teibloom & Stanko, Ltd. Tickets for the event are available for $100.

8th Congressional District

In a contentious race for Rep. Duckworth's soon-to-be-vacated seat in the northwest and west suburbs, former Deputy State Treasurer Raja Krishnamoorthi has emerged as the Democratic frontrunner.

Krishnamoorthi was endorsed by the state’s largest public interest group, Citizen Action/Illinois, Monday.

The former Deputy State Treasurer has also recently received endorsements from Senator Dick Durbin, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer and the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicaid.

Krishnamoorthi will face off against State Senator Michael Noland and Villa Park Mayor Deb Bullwinkel in the Democratic primary.

Michael Noland received an endorsement from former Illinois Governor Pat Quinn last week. Noland has also received endorsements from AFSCME Council 31 and the Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois.

The Republican ticket boasts DuPage County Commissioner and former mayor of Elmhurst Pete DiCianni.

As an independent in Illinois, high school teacher Bill Fraser will appear on the general ballot in November.

Primary elections for the race will be held March 15 with a general election being held Nov. 8.

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