By Crusader Staff
Part One is done. Thousands of signatures have been collected. Exploratory committees have been given the green light to run. All the filing paperwork is in. The countdown to the March 20, 2018 has officially begun as candidates mix holiday greetings with campaign appearances in the final stretch of a busy political season that just got even busier.
Black candidates seeking offices in county, state and federal government officially kicked off their campaigns after the deadline for filing to get their name on the ballot expired on Dec. 4. Months of press conferences, endorsements and announcements led to trips to Springfield where the lineup for the race for governor and attorney general includes a crowded a field of political rookies seeking to topple respectively, incumbent Bruce Rauner and retiring AG Lisa Madigan.
In federal races, Ald. Howard Brookins, Jr. (21st) seeks a rematch against veteran U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush for the 1st Congressional District. U.S. Congresswoman Robin Kelly—Illinois’ only Black woman congresswoman—faces newcomer Marcus Lewis, a former postal worker and ordained minister.
For the 2018 Democratic primary race for governor, there are seven candidates who have filed their petitions. While the long process of validating their signatures on their petitions has begun, many are wasting no time stepping up their campaigns with just over three months left before the primary.
Seven Democrats are in the race for governor, including Chicago activist Tio Hardiman, billionaire Jay Robert “J.B.” Pritzker and businessman Chris Kennedy. Pritzker and Kennedy have been viewed as the strongest contenders against Rauner. With State Rep. Juliana Stratton (D-5th) as his running mate for lieutenant governor and endorsements from prominent Black leaders, Pritzker aims to capture Chicago’s Black vote. The other Democrats are Robert Marshall, Bob Daiber, Terry Getz, and Biss Daniel.
The race for Illinois’ attorney general is also a crowded field with a total of nine candidates running for the position, including seven Democrats. State Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-13th) is seeking to become the state’s second Black attorney general with a big endorsement from the Cook County Democrats. His toughest opponents in Chicago are former Gov. Pat Quinn and Sharon Fairley, former chief of the Independent Police Review Agency, the organization that investigates shootings involving Chicago police officers. Other candidates are: former Miss America and Harvard Law graduate Erika Harold on the Republican side; Chicago Atty. Jesse Ruiz; State Rep. Scott Drury (D-58th); and former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti.
Former State Rep. Ken Dunkin is officially in the race to win back his seat in Illinois’ 5th District. After being ousted by newcomer Stratton in the 2016 primary, Dunkin stayed out of the limelight. His opponents are all political newcomers. They are: activist Johnae Strong; activist Tregg Duerson; insurance manager Lamont Robinson, Jr.; and educator Dr. Dilara Sayeed.
In the race for Secretary of State, longtime incumbent Jesse White faces Michael E. Hastings in the primary. For Illinois comptroller, incumbent Susana Mendoza, will face Republican Darlene Senger in the November general election after running unopposed in the Democratic primary.
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle faces former Ald. Bob Fioretti, whose campaign aims to capitalize on public backlash stemming from the repealed soda tax. Blacks have held the Cook County Board president position for 23 years.
Former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger filed his papers to run for commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD). Stroger, who, last month said he would run to unseat Preckwinkle, will serve two terms on the MWRD if he wins.
In the 1st District commissioners’ race, incumbent Richard Boykin faces educator Brandon Johnson. Johnson recently criticized his opponent for his proposal to close the county’s budget hole by sending collection agencies after unpaid medical bills generated by the poor and elderly who rely on County Care for basic health care, dental and mental health needs.
After serving out the term of the late Robert Steele, Cook County Commissioner in the 2nd District, Dennis Deer, faces a crowded field with Atty. Paul J. Montes, II, Darryl D. Smith, Eddie Johnson, III, and Lupe Aguirre as contenders.
For Cook County Commissioner District 3, eight candidates are seeking to replace retiring incumbent Jerry “Iceman” Butler. They are: former Water Reclamation District Commissioner Patricia Horton; Charise Williams, Deputy Chief of Staff for Civic Engagement for Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs; Stephen R. Wolfe; Bill Lowry; Joshua Gray; George Blakemore; Horace “Washington” Howard; and Erick M. Nickerson.
In the race for Cook County Commissioner District 4, incumbent Stanley Moore faces Atty. Maria M. Barlow; Robert McKay; professor and consultant Gaylon Alcaraz; and Alfred Evans.
For Cook County Commissioner District 5, incumbent Deborah Sims faces Timothy “Tim” Parker, Dexter Johnson, Audrey Lynn Tanksley, Arenda Bacon, and Marcel Blight.
For Cook County Commissioner District 6, Donna Miller, a Black candidate, aims to unseat incumbent Edward M. Moody. Other candidates are Crestwood resident Louis Presta and Patricia Joan Murphy, daughter of the late, longtime Cook County Commissioner Joan Patricia Murphy.
Karen Yarbrough, who currently heads the Cook County Recorder of Deeds office, has filed her petition to run as Cook County Clerk, where incumbent David Orr is retiring after 37 years. Also running are Atty. Jan Kowalski, Nick Shields, Orr’s director of communications, and fitness instructor Stephanie Joy-Jackson Rowe.
For Cook County Sheriff, longtime incumbent Tom Dart faces John Fairman and Edward “Eddie” Acevedo.