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Sheriff Tom Dart wins primary, paving way for third term

Sheriff Tom Dart cruised to victory in Tuesday’s primary, paving the way for a third term as the county’s lead law enforcement official.

With roughly 87 percent of precincts reporting, Dart had secured 69 percent of the vote, besting challengers Ted Palka, Bill Evans and Sylvester Baker — all current and former deputies — who failed to garner more 15 percent of the vote.

Dart was apparently confident enough in his chances of re-election that he didn’t see the need to campaign.

“We didn’t run much of a campaign and we didn’t hide from that. People know what we’re doing and we’ll run on our merits,” Dart said by phone Tuesday night, while gathered at his South Side home with friends and family. “We literally didn’t spend any money.”

During campaign season, the three challengers attacked the Dart, who was a state legislator and prosecutor before he was elected sheriff in 2006, for a lack on-the-ground police experience.

They also said the sheriff has understaffed the department with rank-and-file deputies while expanding the ranks of administrative workers in top positions.

Dart shrugged off their criticisms off as typical workplace gripes.

“I would challenge you to find any work environment where you don’t have one or two disgruntled people,” Dart said.