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The Evanstonian

The news site of Evanston Township High School's student newspaper

The Evanstonian

The news site of Evanston Township High School's student newspaper

The Evanstonian

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Goodbye Mr. Phillips
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Izabella Paracuelles, Feature Editor • March 15, 2024

A look at the Cook County State Attorney race

With a term of four years, the Cook County State Attorney holds a pivotal role in the legal landscape of one of the nation’s largest counties. As the chief prosecutor, the State Attorney is responsible for representing the interests of the people of Cook County in criminal cases, overseeing the prosecution of offenders and advocating for justice on behalf of victims and communities. With a jurisdiction encompassing diverse urban and suburban communities, the Cook County State Attorney wields considerable influence in shaping the county’s approach to law enforcement, criminal justice reform and community engagement.

Incumbent Kim Foxx announced in 2023 that she would not be running for a third term, stating that she never set out to be a career politician. 

Though the State Attorney race will not occur until November, March 19 held a tightly contested Democratic primary race. Eileen O’Neill Burke emerged victorious, edging out Clayton Harris III in a neck-and-neck battle. O’Neill Burke received 50.1% of the vote to Harris’ 49.9%.

O’Neill Burke’s support was particularly strong in urban precincts within Chicago, where her background as a retired judge and former Assistant State’s Attorney resonated with voters familiar with the inner workings of the legal system. In suburban precincts, Harris garnered significant support, leveraging his platform as a former prosecutor and professor specializing in policing and race relations.

Demographic factors also played a significant role in shaping voter preferences. Harris received substantial support from younger voters and communities of color, drawn to his proactive stance on preventing gun violence and his commitment to prosecuting hate crimes, however, due to low Black voter turnout, the overwhelming support from Black communities did not have much impact on the primary. On the other hand, O’Neill Burke’s emphasis on experience and collaboration appealed to older voters and those seeking stability and reform in the criminal justice system.

O’Neill Burke will be running against Republican Bob Fioretti and Libertarian Andrew Charles Kopinsk in the 2024 election season, marking the start of a new era for the county.

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Sophia Siddiqui
Sophia Siddiqui, Assistant News Editor
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