Dorothy Brown to face Ald. Harris, three others in court clerk race

SHARE Dorothy Brown to face Ald. Harris, three others in court clerk race
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Ald. Michelle Harris speaks during Budget Hearings at the City Council Chambers in October. File Photo (Brian Jackson/ For the Chicago Sun-Times)

Dorothy Brown will face a heated primary, after all.

Ald. Michelle Harris, who picked up the crucial Democratic Party support that Brown lost, officially filed her paperwork Monday to challenge the incumbent Cook County circuit court clerk.

And the 8th Ward alderman was not alone.

Also filing on Monday to challenge Brown for the Democratic nomination were Shirley Coleman, former 16th Ward alderman, and Tio Hardiman, head of the Violence Interrupters group. Activist and attorney Jacob Meister filed last week.

The lone Republican challenger, 46th Ward Republican Committeeman Diane Shapiro, also filed Monday, the last day for candidates to file nominating petitions for county, state, party and most federal offices.

The last-minute county filings mean that Brown will face Harris, Coleman, Hardiman and Meister in the primary — assuming none of their petitions are successfully challenged. The winner will run against Shapiro in the general election.

Despite being hobbled by a federal investigation of her office and a loss of crucial Democratic support, Brown filed to run for re-election last week on the first day of the week-long filing period.  Newspaper and TV cameras captured the moment as Brown officially kicked off her re-election bid.

Harris opted for a quieter kick-off, filing her papers with little fanfare, and she did not respond to media requests for comment on her candidacy.

Coleman, who first joined the City Council in 1991 and lost a run-off election to JoAnn Thompson after coming in second in the 2007 general election, also declined requests for comment.

Formerly with the CeaseFire group, Hardiman ran unsuccessfully for governor in last year’s Democratic Primary but captured nearly 30 percent of the vote. Meister is founder and chairman of The Civil Rights Agenda, a statewide non-profit dedicated to advancing and protecting LGBT rights.

Typically, candidates like to file on the first day of the filing period, to get a chance at being first on the ballot and as a show of strength, or on the last day to get a chance at being listed last.

Harris opted not to file on the first day last week, and did not return repeated telephone calls then either, seeking information on her filing plans.  She only launched her candidacy a month ago when the Cook County Democratic Party rescinded its earlier endorsement of Brown and threw its support to Harris.

The four-term incumbent Brown has insisted that she has done nothing wrong and essentially thumbed her nose at the party bosses who abandoned her.

In other countywide races, State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez officially picked up two more Democratic challengers on Monday.

Former prosecutor Donna More filed to challenge Alvarez in the primary, joining Kim Foxx, a county official, who filed last week. Republican attorney Christopher E.K. Pfannkuche, also a former prosecutor who spent three decades with the office he is seeking, also filed on Monday.

Filing to challenge Democratic incumbent Karen A. Yarbrough for Cook County Recorder of Deeds was Chicago attorney Jan Kowalski.

Candidates for districts 1 and 2 of the county Board of Review, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, and Chicago ward committeemen also officially entered the race.

In the U.S. Senate race, Republican Sen. Mark Kirk gained Republican challenger Elizabeth Diane Pahlke on Monday. Oswego businessman James Marter filed last week to challenge Kirk in the primary. On the Democratic side, state Sen. Napoleon Harris on Monday joined Democrats U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth and former Urban League President Andrea Zopp in seeking their party’s nomination.

In U.S. Congressional races, Democrat Bobby Rush, 69, filed to retain the seat he has held since 1993, as did an expected challenger, 21st Ward Ald. Howard Brookins, Jr., an attorney who has served in City Council since 2003. Also filing were Democrats O. Patrick Brutus and Harold L. Bailey and Republicans Jimmy Lee Tillman II and August Deuser.

Monday also saw an influx of candidates for committeeman of the 50 city wards, with the Chicago Republican Party charging that Democrats across the city were running for Republican committeeman positions in order to infiltrate the GOP. 

Presidential candidates and their delegates don’t file their petitions until January

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