On second thought, the daughter of one Democratic political powerhouse will not even try to replace another as Illinois attorney general.
Ald. Edward Burke (14th), chairman of the city Council’s Finance Committee, said Tuesday that his daughter, Sarah, considered joining the crowded Democratic primary race to replace retiring Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
But the alderman said Sarah decided against it for reasons that have nothing to do with nepotism.
“She was encouraged by a number of friends and associates to explore the race which, of course, was a surprise given the fact that everyone anticipated that Lisa Madigan was going to be a candidate for re-election,” Burke said Tuesday.
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“I think Sarah could have run a good race. And I think it’s important for young women to become more involved in the political process. But on reflection, Illinois is a big state. And Sarah has three little children under eight. While I would be supportive if she was so inclined, I think that she has determined that, at this point in her family life with three little ones under eight, it simply would not be the best thing for her family.”
Sarah Burke could not be reached for comment. She is an attorney who serves as director of external affairs at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
Ald. Burke was asked whether there would have been resentment to a Sarah Burke candidacy after four terms of Lisa Madigan serving as the state’s top legal officer while her father maintains iron-fisted control over the Illinois House.
“Do you have any other questions?” he replied.
A Democratic insider, who asked to be anonymous for fear of alienating Chicago’s most powerful alderman, said Sarah Burke was wise to decide not to enter the race for attorney general.
“Ed was out in front of it. He thought it would be a good play for Sarah. But, he didn’t have his ducks lined up. And she’s not ready. You’ve got to raise a ton of money. It’s a big undertaking,” the Democratic insider said.
“Look at the heat the Madigans took for having those two top positions [speaker and attorney general]. The Burke family already has three members in public office. Once you start putting four or five in, there would be even bigger resentment.”
Burke was asked whom he intends to support in a long line of candidates that includes: State Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago); Park District Board President Jesse Ruiz; former mayoral challenger Gery Chico; State Reps Elaine Nekritz and Ann Williams and Andy Schapiro, an attorney and Democratic mega-fundraiser who served as U.S. ambassador to the Czech Republic, are all considering a race for attorney general.
“I’d like to see what the final field looks like,” said the elder Burke, who is closest to Chico, a former Finance Committee staffer.