Cook County judges voted Thursday to retain Chief Judge Timothy Evans as their leader.
The judges gathered at the Daley Center and selected Evans over Judge Tom Allen by a vote of 129-103.
Evans, who was first elected 15 years ago, will serve his sixth term. The only other time he was challenged was in 2010. Allen, a former alderman, will continue to hear cases in the chancery division at the Daley Center.
Judge Sandra Ramos, who presides over preliminary felony hearings in a courtroom in Englewood, had been a vocal challenger but withdrew Thursday morning. Ramos had been critical of Evans, and compared herself to President Barack Obama and Senator Bernie Sanders.
The challengers drew the ire of Ald. Carrie Austin, 34th, who called it “a crying shame” that judges might consider voting against Evans. She wrote in a Facebook post that Democratic party leaders should be pushing judges to back him, and criticized black politicians for supporting Allen.
“They should be supporting [Evans, but] they would rather have Tom Allen who has not done a damn thing for blacks,” Austin wrote.
On Wednesday, a group of black ministers sent out a press release calling for unity among black judges and politicians, and warned if Evans loses, judges could be at risk of losing their place on the bench.
Evans said the close race is an opportunity to reach out to judges who did not vote for him.
“I will have an open door policy. I have invited Mr. Allen to be a part of an ongoing dialogue, and that goes for anyone who supported him in the race,” Evans said.
Susie An is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her @soosieon.