Cook County State’s Attorney: Kim Foxx declares victory, Pat O’Brien calls her to concede

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By Sarah Schulte, Ravi Baichwal and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team

In the Cook County State’s Attorney’s race, incumbent Kim Foxx declared victory Tuesday night after Republican challenger Patrick O’Brien called her to concede.

“I received a call from Judge O’Brien congratulating me on tonight’s victory,” Foxx said. “I want to thank him for running a formidable race on behalf of the people of Cook County.”

Early returns showed a very close race and O’Brien was hoping for an upset. But by 10 p.m., Foxx had a substantial lead.

O’Brien conceded to Foxx as he thanked supporters, saying he “was hoping it wouldn’t come to this, but it doesn’t look like there’s enough votes out there.”

The first African-American woman to lead the second largest prosecutor’s office in the country, Kim Foxx will serve a second term as Cook County State’s Attorney.

“It’s been a long tough fight and I think it speaks to the change we are trying to make, and for some people, it’s really discouraged by,” Foxx said earlier in the day.

The change Foxx tried to make was reforming a criminal justice system that was often unjust to people of color. But O’Brien said Foxx went too far, accusing her of being too soft on violent criminals.

“She has had four years of failed policies,” O’Brien said. “People are less safe, victims of crime don’t have a voice and I think voters are going to tell her that.”

Even Mayor Lori Lightfoot questioned Foxx’s decisions following last summer’s violence and looting. But on Election Day, Mayor Lightfoot and Illinois Governor JB Pritzker stood with Foxx as she went from one polling place to another.

“Make sure you vote for the only choice, Kim Foxx,” Lightfoot said.

While Foxx defended her record by saying violent crime went down the first three years of her administration, Foxx’s first term has also been clouded by her abrupt decision to drop charges against actor Jussie Smollett.

“I was having coffee with another retired judge when the Smollett decision came down,” O’Brien said. “I was shocked as was the person I was having coffee with. I started looking at the office and the various kinds of ways you can get a sense of how it’s performing, and I was, ah, I guess, shocked further by how badly the state’s attorney’s office is doing. It seemed to be running on 50%, and even at 50% they were losing more cases, dropping more cases. They weren’t acting like prosecutors who want to keep the neighborhood safe.”

O’Brien said that’s one of the reasons why he made the decision to run against a candidate he voted for in 2016. The former prosecutor and judge said he believed a big turnout would help him, while Foxx said it would help her.

“I tend to think with this kind of energy, it’s not because people are happy with Kim Foxx,” O’Brien said.

“People are excited about this race and I’m feeling really good about it,” Foxx said.

This article originally appeared on ABC7 News.

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