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Prediction: Ald. Carothers could make history, win primary

Veteran political observer and University of Illinois-Chicago professor Dick Simpson predicts the Chicago-area will make history tonight.

And not in a good way, he says.

Simpson said Tuesday afternoon that he thinks convicted former Alderman Isaac “Ike” Carothers will be elected to be the next 1st District Cook County commissioner, representing parts of Chicago’s West Side and western suburbs

If elected, Carothers would have the distinction of being the first former public official in the Chicago region to return to public office after doing time for corruption, Simpson said. Carothers previously pleaded guilty to bribery, mail and tax fraud after receiving $40,000 worth of home renovations.

“We have elected dead men before, so I suppose a felon is the next step,” Simpson, who is also a former alderman, said in a phone interview. “The machine organization on the West Side is so powerful at the precinct level.”

Carothers is able to run for the county board – though not his former aldermanic seat – due to a quirk in Illinois law that allows felon to hold county and statewide office, even if they are barred from holding city office.

Carothers two main rivals are 27-year-old Blake Sercye — who has the backing of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle – and Richard Boykin, a former chief-of-staff for U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, D- Ill.

Meanwhile, Carothers has relied on Ald. Emma Mitts (37th), a former Carothers protégé who has donated cash and used her political organization to back the former convict.