Election 2012 candidates guide: Who filed to run?

December 6, 2011

Monday was the filing deadline for most elected offices in Illinois. It’s our first official look at who’s running for what in the March 20th primaries.

A couple of top races for Cook County offices will include no racing at all. Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez will face no challengers in the Democratic primary as she tries for a second term. Same goes in the election to replace Cook County Recorder of Deeds Eugene Moore, who is not seeking another term. The Democratic Party’s slated candidate, state Rep. Karen Yarbrough, has no opponents in the primary. No Republicans filed in either contest.

An exception to Monday’s filing deadline is the state’s congressional seats. That’s delayed until later this month, a result of the ongoing lawsuit filed by GOP members of the state’s delegation against the Democratic-drawn congressional boundaries.

Illinois General Assembly

The Illinois State Board of Elections received 375 filings for candidates running for the 177 seats in the state Senate and House. And thanks to legislative redistricting this past year, there are going to be a surplus of hot general Assembly primaries. Here’re a few contentious Chicago-area state Senate primaries:

  • The 5th Senate District on Chicago’s West and North Sides is only at play because Rickey Hendon resigned from the office last winter. Democratic leaders picked then-state Rep. Annazette Collins for the seat in March over a field of applicants that included former mayoral candidate Patricia Van Pelt Watkins. Watkins is now challenging Collins in the primary.
  • The 15th Senate District is an open seat after the incumbent, the Rev. James Meeks, opted not run seek another term. It covers part of the city's far South Side, down through Dolton, Harvey, Homewood and as far South as Monee. Five candidates filed to run in the Democratic primary, including former NFL player Napoleon Harris; Pat Mahon, a village administrator for South Holland; Donna Miller, whose husband is former state Rep. David Miller; Joe Letke and Marquise Alston.
  • The 23rd Senate District Republican primary is a match-up between state Sen. Carole Pankau, who’s been in the legislature since 1993, and state Rep. Randy Ramey. Ramey heads the DuPage County GOP and is the stepson of former Senate President James “Pate” Philip. This district includes Bartlett, Bloomingdale, Glendale Heights, Villa Park and others. There also looks to be a spirited Democratic primary.
  • In the 24th Senate District, Republican state Sen. Kirk Dillard faces a challenge from state Rep. Chris Nybo. Dillard was just a couple hundred votes short of winning the GOP gubernatorial primary last year against state Sen. Bill Brady. Nybo, a freshman lawmaker, says he was forced into a Dillard challenge by the new boundaries. The district includes a big chunk of the Western suburbs, including parts of Elmhurst, Oak Brook, Hinsdale, Lombard, Glen Ellyn and others.

Illinois Supreme Court

Up for election his year is one the three Supreme Court seats picked by Cook County voters. The incumbent-by-appointment in this contest is Mary Jane Theis, a former appellate court judge who succeeded former Justice Thomas Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald resigned last year after a Parkinson’s diagnosis.

Theis has the backing of the Cook County Democratic Party, but is up against five others in the primary. They include Appellate Court Judges Joy Cunningham (endorsed by Preckwinkle) and Aurelia Pucinski, a former circuit court clerk and daughter of the late-U.S. Rep./Chicago Ald. Roman Pucinski. Three other Democrats, Thomas Flannigan, former Judge John Tully and Tom Courtney (a former aldermanic candidate) round out the primary field. Judge James G. Riley is the only Republican to file.

Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court

The Democratic primary features the three-term incumbent, Dorothy Brown, against a Chicago alderman, Ricardo Munoz of the Southwest Side’s 22nd Ward. Brown has the backing of the Cook County Democratic Party, while Munoz won support from the county board president, Toni Preckwinkle, who served with Munoz on the Chicago City Council. Nobody’s running in the Republican primary.

Ward Committeemen

For these party leadership posts, you can take a look at all the matchups at the Cook County Clerk’s website, but a few stand out. In Chicago's 1st Ward, Proco “Joe” Moreno, a relative aldermanic newbie, is looking to capture the Democratic organization from Jesse Ruben Juarez. In the neighboring 32nd, Ald. Scott Waguespack is among the challengers to the current Democratic Committeeman, John Fritchey, who is a former state representative now serving on the Cook County Board.

In the city’s Northwest corner, freshman Ald. Nick Sposato is win the committeeman’s duties from Lawrence Andolino, who’s allied with former 36th Ward Ald./outgoing Committeeman Bill Banks. Sposato beat Banks’ preferred candidate in the April runoff for alderman. There’s a similar situation in the 45th Ward, where new Ald. John Arena is looking to take over a ward organization that backed one of his opponents in the aldermanic election.

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