Feb 18, 2022 - Politics

Secretary of State race heats up

Guy on stage in red
Secretary of State Jesse White and members of the Jesse White Tumblers acknowledge the crowd at Millennium Park on August 27, 2014. Photo: Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Retiring Secretary of State Jesse White has endorsed a candidate to replace him: City Clerk Anna Valencia.

Why it matters: White is retiring after 24 years in the office at the end of the year. Democrats are looking to replace one of their longest-tenured officeholders, but the party seems to be split on who that candidate should be.

Yes, but: But sitting U.S. senators have endorsed Valencia. And now, so has White.

What they're saying: "I made history as the first African American to be elected Secretary of State. And Anna will make history as the first woman and first Latina to be elected Secretary of State," White said in a statement.

  • Senator Dick Durbin said in a statement that White's endorsement is a "game changer."

Zoom in: The Secretary of State Democratic primary is shaping to be a race to the finish. The primary will include:

  • Alexi Giannoulias: The former Illinois treasurer has the support of major labor unions and has out-fundraised his opponents, having raised $4 million by the end of 2021.
  • Anna Valencia: She's been Chicago City Clerk since appointed to the position by then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2016 and won reelection in 2019. White's endorsement also means Valencia will get the support of his political machine.
  • David Moore: The 17th Ward alderperson is the only Black candidate. Some Democrats have argued that since Jesse White is Black, the party should endorse a Black candidate to replace him.

The other side: In the Republican primary, former U.S. attorney John Milhiser is running against state representative Dan Brady.

What's next: The Illinois primary is June 28.

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