Candidates are lining up to replace Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown in next year’s election. On Thursday, they participated in a quirky bit of political theater.
They tried to woo Cook County Democratic Party leaders in hopes of winning their endorsement. The party’s seal of approval brings with it money and manpower to help get elected.
Brown did not show up, and she did not return a message for comment. But four people who are vying for her job bashed Brown over the old-school way she runs the court system and for a federal corruption probe targeting her office.
“We can’t afford leadership that operates under a permanent cloud of suspicion and distrust,” said Illinois State Sen. Iris Martinez, D-Chicago, who is among those who want Brown’s job.
Inside a giant union hall near McCormick Place, potential candidates not only touted their resumes, but they also emphasized how much they can do for the party bosses — like fundraising. There was talk of special talents, too.
“I’ve earned a black belt in karate,” said Maire Dempsey, who wants to be a Cook County Circuit Court judge, told Democratic Party bosses. “I have a third degree brown belt in modern arnis, which is a Filipino stick fighting art. And I have a blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.”
The Party’s so-called pre-slating process continues Friday. They plan to endorse candidates in August.
Kristen Schorsch covers Cook County politics for WBEZ. Follow her @kschorsch.