May 3, 2022 - Politics

Democrats tussle over secretary of state primary

Guy at a mic
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White is retiring after this year. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Democrats currently control Illinois, and incumbents are mostly running unopposed in the upcoming primary. But one race is turning into an interesting fight: secretary of state.

Why it matters: There is a three-way race to replace longtime Secretary of State Jesse White as the Democratic choice in November, the position's first open primary since 1998.

  • The office has largely been uncontroversial during White's tenure.

Driving the news: Without White, who is retiring, the primary is wide open. The three candidates have already lined up intriguing endorsements.

Alexi Giannoulias: The former Illinois treasurer jumped out to an early lead after securing the endorsement of Cook County Democrats.

  • Giannoulias hasn't secured any more big names since that endorsement but has still raised more than any other candidate, reporting $4.4 million in his campaign fund at the end of March.
  • He's also the first to flood the local market with ads, letting us know he used to play basketball with former President Obama.

Anna Valencia: The current city clerk has racked up a dizzying array of party endorsements, from Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Sen. Dick Durbin to the outgoing White. She also just secured the endorsement of Planned Parenthood of Illinois.

  • But Valencia is still lagging behind Giannoulias in money, reporting just over $1.1 million in her campaign fund at the end of March, and has spent most of the past week answering accusations that she helped steer work to her lobbyist husband.

David Moore: The alderperson from the 17th ward just secured the endorsements of U.S. Rep. Danny Davis and former alderperson and current political science professor Dick Simpson.

  • Yes, but: Moore had just $39,000.

The other side: The Republican primary race — which we'll explore soon — includes Dan Brady, John Milhiser and Michelle Turney.

What we're watching: There are no debates scheduled between now and the June 28 primary, so it may be all about the campaign ads.

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