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Easy path to re-election for Cook County state's attorney

Cook County's top prosecutor is likely to breeze into a second term. Anita Alvarez has no opponent in the March Democratic primary.

Four years ago, it wasn't like this. 

Anita Alvarez was one of six Democrats running to replace Cook County State's Attorney Dick Devine. In a 2008 primary election night surprise, she eked out a win by a margin of less than 0.7 percent, before cruising to victory in November to become Cook County's first woman - and first Hispanic - state's attorney.

Alvarez's quest for a second term looks to be much less dramatic. No Republicans and no other Democrats filed paperwork to get on the ballot.

That's not to say everyone in her party is wholeheartedly backing her. Some African American Democratic leaders questioned some of Alvarez's prosecutorial decisions, and complained she was not visible enough at party events.

Still, no challengers developed.

The path is also clear for another Democrat seeking countywide office. State Rep. Karen Yarbrough of Maywood is the only candidate running for Recorder of Deeds. The office handles property documents like mortgage filings and tax liens.

"This office is a small office. It's pretty obscure," Yarbrough said. "For the most part people don't really understand what it does. And so I'm not really sure that there's a whole lot of interest."

At least two other Democrats were interested in the recorder's office, but dropped out around the same time Yarbrough sewed up party support.

Yarbrough said she wants to increase the office's responsibilities. The job could be a springboard for her: past recorders include Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White and ex-U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun.

The incumbent recorder since 1999, Eugene "Gene" Moore, has opted not to seek another term.

Since no Republicans filed for either state's attorney or recorder, Alvarez and Yarbrough would be on the November ballot alone if the Cook County GOP does not appoint a nominee over the summer. Independents or third-party candidates could also file paperwork then, but they would have to collect many more signatures than are required of major party candidates.

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