Mar 31, 2024 - News

O'Neill Burke wins Dem primary for Cook County state's attorney

Illustration of the Chicago skyline cut out of a ballot.

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

Eileen O'Neill Burke has declared victory over Clayton Harris III in the Democratic primary for Cook County state's attorney.

Why it matters: The race was one of the closest the county has seen in decades, and the Democratic candidate traditionally wins in blue Cook County.

State of play: The Associated Press called the race Friday night for O'Neill Burke, who prevailed by fewer than 1,600 votes.

Between the lines: A strong early showing for O'Neill Burke led many to predict an outcome signaling a rebuke of outgoing progressive State's Attorney Kim Foxx.

  • O'Neill Burke's endorsers and donors included business groups, contributors linked to Ken Griffin's Citadel fund and the police union, leading many to associate her with tough-on-crime policies.
  • Like Foxx, Harris was endorsed by the Cook County Democratic Party.
  • But far from a rebuke, the extremely close results indicate an almost even split between the two candidates, who advanced policies that stray little from Foxx's.

The intrigue: While Harris shared Foxx's stance on a higher threshold for charging someone with felony retail theft, O'Neill Burke's campaign promoted arguably even more progressive policies, including creating a newly fashioned Restorative Justice Bureau — an idea originally proposed by Foxx.

What they're saying: In a statement praising Harris, O'Neill Burke sought to unify Democrats, saying in part, "While we may have had our differences in this election, we share a love for our beautiful city and Cook County."

What's next: The Chicago Board of Elections is expected to certify the vote Tuesday.

  • O'Neill Burke will face GOP challenger Bob Fioretti in the November election.
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