Alderman backs Joe Biden, but not Kim Foxx — tosses support to Republican challenger Pat O’Brien

Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) voiced concerns about Foxx’s response to looting in his ward this summer, but he’s now officially backing O’Brien. Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd), who also became disenchanted with Foxx, said he’s sitting the race out.

SHARE Alderman backs Joe Biden, but not Kim Foxx — tosses support to Republican challenger Pat O’Brien
Republican challenger Pat O’Brien, left; Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, right.

Republican challenger Pat O’Brien, left, in February; Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, right, in March.

Rich Hein; Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times file

Signaling a potential crack in Democratic support for Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, Republican challenger Pat O’Brien on Tuesday picked up the support of Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd). 

The downtown alderman voiced his concerns about Foxx’s response to looting in his ward this summer, but he’s now officially backing O’Brien.  Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd), who also became disenchanted with Foxx, said he’s sitting the race out. 

Reilly — whose ward includes parts of the Loop and the Streeterville, Gold Coast and River North neighborhoods — told constituents in a text that he supports the former Cook County judge for state’s attorney and urged ward residents to vote early or drop off their mail ballots at polling locations. 

The text was provided to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Reilly described himself as “a proud member of the Democratic Party and a Biden delegate.”

“But this is one race I’ll be voting independent of the ticket,” he told the Sun-Times.

The city’s neighborhoods are “suffering from the office’s failures to aggressively prosecute gun crimes and repeat offenders,” Reilly said, a problem that has gotten so bad the police have come to call the county’s criminal justice system a “‘revolving door.’”

“I fully support reforms that keep nonviolent offenders out of the jail system,” Reilly said, referring to one of Foxx’s priorities. “At the same time, there need to be serious consequences for violent criminals, gun crimes and repeat offenders. When there aren’t, you get what we’ve experienced for the past four years: lawlessness, more violence, more homicides and more victims.”

Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) speaks during a City Council meeting in 2019.

Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) speaks during a City Council meeting last year.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times file

Reilly’s ward was rocked by rounds of looting over the summer that left downtown businesses boarded up.

Hopkins, who represents a nearby Near North and West Side ward, said he’s “sitting this one out” and not endorsing any of the candidates in the race to serve as the county’s top prosecutor. 

“I did not back her in the primary, but, as a Democrat, I’ve always supported Democratic candidates, so I can’t find it in my heart to support the Republican here,” Hopkins said. “But in my opinion, [Foxx] has not performed in her duties to the extent that the voters in my ward would expect, so I’ve withheld my endorsement, as well.”

Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) during a City Council meeting in 2016.

Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) during a City Council meeting in 2016.

Lou Foglia/Sun-Times file

In a statement, O’Brien’s campaign said the former judge is “honored” to have Reilly’s support.

“Alderman Brendan Reilly and his constituents know, firsthand, the consequences of Kim Foxx’s failure to aggressively prosecute repeat gun offenders and violent criminals downtown,” Brad Goodman, a spokesman for O’Brien’s campaign, said in a statement. “Reilly joins dozens of other elected Democrats across Cook County who want Pat O’Brien to restore integrity and justice to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.”

O’Brien reported receiving $1,000 from one of Reilly’s committees Sunday.

Foxx’s campaign dismissed the alderman throwing his support behind the former Democratic judge.

“Once again, this is consistent with the primary,” Alex Sims, a senior adviser for Foxx’s campaign, said in a statement. “This is no surprise to the campaign. I think it’s a shame that these ‘Democrats’ are ignoring Pat O’Brien’s ‘Trump-like’ law and order vision and his abysmal history of wrongful convictions. Unfortunately, I am not surprised.” 

The Democratic incumbent faces O’Brien and Libertarian candidate Brian Dennehy in her bid for a second term. 

The county’s top prosecutor has cast O’Brien as Cook County’s closest thing to President Donald Trump, saying he has resorted to “Trump-like name calling and fear mongering.” Those tactics are the reasons she cites for not debating him.

O’Brien has gone after Foxx for her handling of former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett’s case and a tenure he says has only led to “more crime and more fear.”

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