By Erick Johnson
The courts may be closed but the verdict is out on Illinois Supreme Court Candidate P. Scott Neville, Jr.
By a narrow margin, he won the Democratic primary on Tuesday, but a Crusader analysis of the election results found that Neville cleaned up in 17 of 18 Black wards in a race where many were concerned that three Black judicial candidates would split the Black vote and end hopes of having a person of color on the state’s high court.
Overall, Neville swept 29 of Chicago’s 50 wards, capturing 26.78 percent of 407,717 votes that were cast March 17. He was nearly beaten by Jesse Reyes, a Latino candidate who captured 22.53 percent, according to information from the Chicago Board of Elections.
Neville’s victory is attributed to Chicago’s 18 Black Wards, where he grabbed more than twice as many votes than Reyes despite having two other Black candidates in the race.
The judicial race for the Illinois Supreme Court was a closely watched race in the Black community. Neville was appointed to the seven-member court in 2018 after Charles Freeman, first Black judge, retired after 28 years on the bench. Despite Neville’s experience and highly qualified recommendations from 13 bar associations, his future remained uncertain. Against his two Black opponents, Neville needed to win the Black vote in a big way in a crowded field of seven candidates that included Reyes, who got large support from Chicago’s Latino wards. Reyes also won a chunk of votes in Black wards, the Crusader has learned.
With several high-profile endorsements, Neville took every Black ward, except the 16th Ward. Cynthia Cobbs, a former appellate judge who sought to become the first Black female judge on the Illinois Supreme Court, did not win any ward. Neither did Nathaniel Howse, Jr.
Overall in all 18 Black wards, Neville took 47.76 percent of 114,355 votes. Cobbs took 22.41 percent of the vote in Black wards. Reyes was third with 19.6 percent of the Black vote. In last place in the Black wards was Howse, who took 10.49% of the Black vote.
In seven wards, Neville grabbed at least 51 percent of the vote. His strongest finish was in the 8th Ward, where he grabbed 61.29 percent of 8,841 votes.
Neville’s second best showing was in the 4th Ward, where he received 57.46 percent of 8,665 votes. In the 5th Ward, Neville grabbed 56.01% of 7,448 votes, his third best showing.
In all 18 Black wards, Reyes had seven, second place finishes and 10 third place finishes. Reyes narrowly won the 16th Ward, beating Neville by just 373 votes.
Cobbs finished second in 10 Black wards.
Overall, Neville won 29 wards in Chicago, including 12 predominately white wards that were mostly on the North Side. In addition to winning Black 16th Ward, Reyes won all 14 Latino wards and five predominately white wards.
Judicial candidate Margaret Stanton McBride won the 41st Ward, capturing 29.57% of votes.
In the overall vote in Cook County’s suburban townships, Neville led Reyes, taking 23.71 of 387,623 votes to Reyes 18.81 percent. Cobbs was fourth with 12.42 percent of the vote. Howse was last among the seven candidates with just 4.68 percent of the vote.