Democrat Kim Foxx declared victory Tuesday in the Cook County state’s attorney’s race after running on a campaign to restore trust in the office in the wake of the Laquan McDonald police shooting case.
“I’ve been in your communities and I’ve heard from you. I’ve heard from mothers who lost their own daughters and wondered why,” Foxx said in a victory speech.
“This is not about us against them. It’s about us fixing a criminal justice system and seeing the potential for all,” Foxx said.
Foxx had 61.5 percent of the vote, compared with 38.5 percent for her opponent, Christopher Pfannkuche, with 1,246 out of 1,599 precincts reporting,
In the race for Cook County Circuit Court clerk, embattled incumbent Dorothy Brown was easily leading Republican challenger Diane S. Shapiro. Brown had 56 percent of the vote, and Shapiro had 44 percent. Brown and her husband have been the target of a long-running federal probe. Neither has been charged.
The Foxx victory came after getting heavy-hitter endorsements that included her former boss, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle
Pfannkuche, a 31-year veteran of the Cook County state’s attorney’s office, was always considered by most political observers a longshot. Perhaps most notably, he called for a criminal investigation of how Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office handled the McDonald case. Foxx had said such an investigation was “unwarranted.”
Foxx, who grew up in the city’s Cabrini-Green public housing project and spent 12 years as an assistant state’s attorney, has emphasized her “deep understanding of the impact of crime, violence and poverty” on communities.
Foxx beat incumbent Anita Alvarez in the March primary, denying her a third term. Foxx had vowed reform in the wake of the McDonald shooting and other high-profile cases. In November 2015, the state’s attorney’s office charged Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke with murder for shooting McDonald 16 times more than a year earlier. At the time, Alvarez said the delay in charging was the result of a thorough, 13-month investigation. Van Dyke has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.
Alvarez’s handling of the case — as well as the release of a police dashcam video of the shooting — led to large protests, with crowds calling for Alvarez’s resignation.
Foxx argued Alvarez’s charging delay in the McDonald case is a key part of what led to a “crisis of confidence” in the local criminal justice system.
Foxx also harshly criticized Alvarez’s handling of the case of David Koschman, who died in 2004 after being punched by a nephew of former Mayor Richard M. Daley. The Chicago Sun-Times found evidence suggesting a police cover-up in the case. Even so, Alvarez initially opposed appointing a special prosecutor to re-examine the case. A Cook County judge overruled her, and the Daley nephew, Richard J. “R.J.” Vanecko, ended up pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter in 2014.
During a debate before the Sun-Times editoral board, Foxx said justice was denied in the Koschman case because of “the stonewalling that was done by this state’s attorney.”