The race at the polls intensified on Monday, March 7, as political candidates began filing their signed petitions to officially participate in state, county and federal races leading up to the June 28 primary.
Everyone from Alderman Pat Dowell (3rd) to Cook County Council Speaker Toni Preckwinkle handed in nomination petitions on Monday, seeking to have their names placed in the top spots on the ballot in their races respective.
Alderman David Moore (17th) was also there hoping to secure the top spot on the ballot against opponents Alex Giannoulias and Anna Valencia in the race for Secretary of State.
Fritz Kaegi, Cook County tax assessor, Karen Yarbrough, Cook County clerk, and Maria Pappas, Cook County treasurer, also filed petitions in Springfield.
March 14 is the deadline for candidates to submit petitions, but many candidates wasted no time in filing their documents.
Preckwinkle tweeted a photo of herself with a stack of petitions at the State Board of Elections office in Springfield. In his tweet, Preckwinkle said: “It’s been a season of petitioning like no other with our delayed primaries, cold weather and pandemic security concerns, but I’m so proud of how the Party has stood. came together to support our list and obtain our candidates. on the ballot.
Dowell, in a statement, said she had filed 2,200 nomination applications with the Elections Office. That number is three times the required 400 she needs as a congressional candidate. She pointed out that her team arrived in Springfield early to be the first among a crowded field of candidates seeking to replace incumbent Congressman Bobby Rush of the 1st Congressional District.
“This is an exciting time for my campaign for Congress. I am grateful for all of the hard work and support shown throughout the petition campaign,” Dowell said.
“I am very proud that our signatures come from voters from across the district and from all parts of the city. Now, we move on to the next steps of the campaign as we talk about the needs of the people of the 1st Congressional District, including bringing federal resources back to the district, gun violence prevention, small business development, health care affordable and accessible healthcare and the protection of our seniors.
Alderman Moore said in a statement that he was the first among opponents to submit nearly 6,000 petitions to have his name put on the ballot. A photo emerged showing Moore with Jonathan Jackson in Springfield on Monday, as Moore lined up for his petitions.
In his first statewide campaign, Moore said he was excited about the diverse representation of his signatures statewide.
“I think we are in a good position. As I stood in line today, people were coming up to me to wish me luck,” said Chicago 17th Ward Councilman Moore. “People say the secretary of state’s office should remain a servant’s seat.”
The Democratic primary promises to be intense with several key races and a possible referendum that will settle a big battle between Latino and black aldermen seeking to reshape the city’s 50 neighborhoods. The Chicago Black Caucus seeks to retain 17 black neighborhoods and the Latino Caucus wants 15, as the city’s largest minority. The two sides failed to come up with a map that would win the support of at least 41 aldermen at City Hall.
Preckwinkle will face former Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin, a political foe she helped defeat in 2018.
Alderman Pat Dowell is considered one of many favorites to replace Congressman Bobby Rush in Illinois’ 1st District in the United States House of Representatives. She will challenge State Sen. Jacqueline Collins and Rainbow PUSH’s Jonathan Jackson, who are among 18 Democrats seeking to replace Congressman Rush.
Moore is running against Giannoulis and Valencia, which has been endorsed by outgoing Secretary of State Jesse White, Governor JB Pritzker and U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth. Moore has received endorsements from 45 religious leaders throughout Illinois.
Perhaps the biggest race to watch may be the one involving Cook County Council Speaker Preckwinkle, who will face Boykin in a race for the black vote.
Historically, Preckwinkle has won re-election against less nominated candidates. She was swept aside by Lori Lightfoot in the 2019 Chicago mayoral race.
A tough politician, Preckwinkle was never popular with black Chicago voters, many of whom protested her decision to temporarily close the emergency room at Provident Hospital in Washington Park at the start of the pandemic. There was also the abrupt 2020 layoff of Terry Mason, the former chief operating officer of the Cook County Health Department. Preckwinkle maintains that she had nothing to do with it.
Preckwinkle backed former Cook County tax assessor Joe Berrios as his office was accused of giving deep tax breaks to owners of expensive homes while placing a higher share of the tax burden on low-income homeowners , many of whom live in black and Latino neighborhoods in Chicago. .
Then there’s Preckwinkle’s status as chairman of the Cook County Democrats, an organization that snubbed Moore, Steele and Dowell in favor of endorsing three white candidates including Giannoulias for secretary of state.
Another possible obstacle to his re-election is that many black voters still remember when Preckwinkle implemented a sugar tax in 2017 that was later repealed.
Boykin was one of the few politicians who resisted Preckwinkle’s sugar tax. When he did, he picked a fight with Preckwinkle which cost him his commissioner seat. When he lost re-election to Preckwinkle’s candidate Brandon Johnson, a political rookie, many credited Preckwinkle with Boykin’s defeat.
Boykin made a comeback in 2019 in the race to replace Cook County Clerk Dorothy Brown, but lost to Iris Martinez. However, Boykin won all 18 black quarters, but not impressively.
A native of Englewood, Boykin plans to build support in the black community with Brown, who as a campaign adviser plans to reach out to black churches, which were Brown’s strong electoral base that won her re-election four times in his 20 years. career.
Kaegi, who ousted longtime Democrat Joseph Berrios in 2018, will test Metropolitan Water Reclamation District President Kari Steele, who reportedly wasn’t in Springfield on Monday but is expected to have strong support from the Chicago’s black electorate.
Kaegi was endorsed by Cook County Democrats, an organization that has been criticized in recent years for being out of touch with black voters. Kaegi was heavily criticized after news outlets reported his office had overvalued commercial properties. Last June, a Sun-Times The investigation found major flaws in the tax office’s seniors’ property assessment freeze exemption program.
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District candidate Yumeka Brown and attorney Tim Wright, candidate for 5th Sub-Circuit judge, also filed their petitions in Springfield on Monday.