The 2022 Illinois primary election is today. Here is your crib sheet.
Polling places across Illinois opened at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. We break down 13 key races – including governor and secretary of state – to help you cast an informed ballot.By WBEZ Staff and Chicago Sun-Times
The 2022 Illinois primary election is today. Here is your crib sheet.
Polling places across Illinois opened at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. We break down 13 key races – including governor and secretary of state – to help you cast an informed ballot.By WBEZ Staff and Chicago Sun-Times
Illinois is holding its primary election today and there are many important races on the ballot that will determine who makes it to November’s general election.
The Chicago Sun-Times and WBEZ have been covering many of these races and put together this guide to help you get caught up on the biggest issues in the biggest races that you may see on your primary ballot.
This election — held later than usual for Illinois due to the once-every-decade practice of redistricting — Illinois could play a pivotal role in determining which political party has a majority of seats in Congress and who controls the Illinois statehouse.
Top races below include which Republican will face off against incumbent Gov. JB Pritzker (or his Democratic opponent) in November, who will represent the 1st Congressional District after nearly three decades of representation by Bobby Rush, and two incumbent U.S. representatives facing off in the same district because of the redistricting process this year.
So scroll through this guide so you can be an informed voter before you cast your ballot. And if you aren’t sure which district you’re in, plug in your address here to find out. You can also check out Injustice Watch’s guide to the Cook County judicial candidates on the ballot.
Who’s running? First-term Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker faces a little-known challenger and six Republicans are facing off for the GOP gubernatorial nomination in the June 28 primary. The winners of each party’s primary face off in the Nov. 8 general election.
Why is this important? For starters, the election could influence your pocketbook. It also could affect your personal freedoms.
Illinois is slowly recovering from the public health and economic jolts of the COVID-19 pandemic that have dominated a big chunk of Pritzker’s time in office. Pritzker aggressively confronted the pandemic with early stay-at-home orders and mask mandates. Still, more than 36,000 Illinoisans died from COVID-19, a few thousand shy of what it takes to fill Wrigley Field. But in terms of pandemic-related deaths, eight other states had it worse than Illinois, the sixth most-populous state.
With surging tax revenues and $8 billion in pandemic relief from Washington, Pritzker managed to begin digging the state out of the deep fiscal morass he inherited from his GOP predecessor, Bruce Rauner. So much so, nearly $2 billion in tax savings was built into this year’s state budget, and another $1 billion was set aside in reserves. Wall Street marked the state’s improving economic metrics with a series of upgrades to Illinois’ bond rating, which stood a notch above junk status before Pritzker took office. But economic work still needs to be done. Inflation for the Chicago area stood at 7.2% in April, still hovering around 40-year highs. And the state still lags far behind much of the nation in its unemployment rate, which stood at 4.6% in April.
Pritzker’s time in office also has coincided with a big spike in violent crime as homicides in Cook County hit a 27-year high last year. Expressway shootings and carjackings also were up in 2021. Last year, the governor enacted a sprawling criminal justice reform known as the SAFE-T Act. Championed by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, the law ends cash bail next January, mandated body cameras for all police and limited how police can use deadly force, among other things. Republicans have pressed for its repeal.
Ahead of the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion-rights decision, Pritzker enacted legislation in 2019 that established abortion as a “fundamental right” for women in Illinois, safeguarding the procedure under state law. Several in the GOP field of gubernatorial candidates have pledged to attempt to undo that action if elected.
What else do I need to know? Illinois’ billionaire governor is expected to receive only nominal competition in the primary from West Side nurse Beverly Miles, whose previous attempt at elected office was a failed 28th Ward aldermanic bid in Chicago in 2019. But like other Democrats nationally, Pritzker has to face a potentially strong GOP showing this fall, driven by the nation’s worsening economy and President Joe Biden’s unpopularity. Polling in April by Morning Consult showed Pritzker barely above water in Illinois, with 51% of registered voters approving of his job performance.
For the primary, the real action is expected on the Republican side of the ballot, where state Sen. Darren Bailey and Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin have emerged as front-runners. Irvin, who has hammered Pritzker as being soft on crime, is far and away the fundraising leader in the six-way GOP field. He has raked in $50 million from Chicago hedge fund tycoon Kenneth Griffin, who has had a running war with Pritzker and vowed to be “all in” in defeating the governor this fall. Bailey, of downstate Xenia, has found his own deep-pocketed patron in Lake Forest businessman Richard Uihlein, who has donated more than $9 million to Bailey.
A Chicago Sun-Times/WBEZ poll taken June 6-7 showed Bailey emerging as a front-runner, with a double-digit lead over Irvin among likely Republican voters. A total of 32% of respondents said they’d vote for Bailey, with 17% choosing Irvin. Nearly a third of respondents said they were undecided. The poll has a margin of error of 3.8 percentage points. Rounding out the field are Bull Valley businessman Gary Rabine; venture capitalist Jesse Sullivan, of downstate Petersburg; Hazel Crest lawyer Max Solomon; and former state Sen. Paul Schimpf, of downstate Waterloo.
Whether Griffin continues to support Irvin — or any other candidate in Illinois — is in question, now that the billionaire announced June 23 he had moved his family to Florida, and is moving his hedge fund’s headquarters there too.
But Bailey got a nod from former President Donald Trump, who endorsed him at a Mendon, Ill. rally, just days before the primary. That could be a boon to the downstate Republican, as a WBEZ/Sun-Times poll shows GOP voters in Illinois overwhelmingly favor Trump.
Who’s running? Seven Republicans all want a shot at unseating first-term Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth. They are Casey Chlebek, Peggy Hubbard, Robert “Bobby” Piton, Jimmy Lee Tillman II, Anthony W. Williams, Kathy Salvi and Matthew “Matt” Dubiel.
Why is this important? Democrats barely managed to gain control of the U.S. Senate in the 2020 elections, so every seat will count as Republicans try to take it back.
What else do I need to know? The candidates in the race have painted a bleak picture of the direction of the state and the country. Salvi, who lost a six-way 2006 GOP primary bid for Congress, said that, in Springfield and Washington, D.C., “we are crippled by one-party rule.” Dubiel said schools are failing to prepare children for life. Piton, an election denier who was active in the Cyber Ninja election audit in Arizona, insisted “the people can win and take it all back and reverse all of this evil around us.” Hubbard and Chlebek sought to challenge U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin two years ago. The field looks to be pretty open, according to a Chicago Sun-Times/WBEZ poll from June 6-7. It found that two-thirds of likely Republican voters weren’t sure who they’d vote for in the primary.
Whoever wins this primary will go on to the general election and face Duckworth, a popular military veteran who was on President Joe Biden’s shortlist of potential running mates. Even Ron Gidwitz, a major GOP donor and fundraiser, has said Duckworth is a “formidable candidate.”
Who’s running? Incumbent Kwame Raoul is going unchallenged in the Democratic primary after his first four years in office. Meanwhile, three Republicans are vying to take on Raoul in the general election: downstate attorney Thomas DeVore who gained prominence with lawsuits opposing COVID-19 mitigation efforts, corporate lawyer and former attorney general candidate Steve Kim and self-published author David Shestokas who fought to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.
Why is this important? The attorney general is at the center of many of the most divisive and pressing issues in the state, from crime to police reform to government transparency to political corruption. As the top legal officer for the state, the attorney general prosecutes certain crimes, enforces the state’s freedom of information act, defends the state in lawsuits and helps craft legislation and state policy. The office also has its hand in consumer protection, crime victims assistance and environmental preservation. It’s a $100 million-a-year office with nearly 800 employees and a vast mandate.
What else do I need to know? On the Republican side, Kim and Shestokas have made crime and violence major parts of their campaigns — in particular, they claim Raoul and the Democrats have sacrificed law and order in the name of reforming the state’s criminal justice system. Shestokas, a former Cook County prosecutor whose website boasts of him traveling across the country by van to teach people about the Constitution, has made his campaign slogan “Make Crime Illegal Again.” Kim was an advisor to then-Gov. Jim Edgar on international trade and now works in that field in private practice. He is running on a statewide slate with GOP candidate for governor Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin at the top of it.
DeVore meanwhile gained public attention for leading legal challenges to Gov. JB Pritzker’s COVID-19 executive orders, winning a temporary restraining order over school mask mandates. He said he wants to be attorney general so he can “stand up for the people” should similar rules come down during future emergencies.
Like the Senate race, likely Republican voters are still undecided who they’ll go for, with nearly 60% telling pollsters in a June 6-7 Chicago Sun-Times/WBEZ poll they’re not sure.
Secretary of State
Who’s running? On the Democratic side, former state treasurer Alexi Giannoulias faces Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia and South Side Ald. David Moore (17th), as well as Homewood resident Sidney Moore. On the Republican ballots, State Rep. Dan Brady of Bloomington in central Illinois squares off against former federal prosecutor John Milhiser of Springfield.
Why is this important? Longtime Secretary of State Jesse White is stepping down after nearly 24 years of managing perhaps the state’s most public-interactive office, responsible for vehicle services, corporate registrations and other record-keeping. White has arguably been the state’s most popular politician in generations — and has allowed Democrats to retain a tight grip on the office. But with White retiring, the winner of the GOP primary might have a fighting chance in the general election. The office’s history as a springboard to the governor’s mansion and the U.S. Senate also makes this a race to watch.
What else do I need to know? The Democratic primary race has been a vicious slug fest, with ads flooding Illinois airwaves and forcing Illinois’ most powerful Democrats to pick sides. Giannoulias is facing many of the questions that dogged his ill-fated 2010 run for Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat; namely, Giannoulias’s ties to his family’s failed Broadway Bank. Valencia, who won White’s priceless endorsement, has faced scrutiny over her husband’s lobbying activities and whether his business benefited from a close connection to City Hall. Ald. Moore, backed by U.S. Rep. Danny Davis and many Chicago clergy leaders, is banking on grassroots support — and has suggested political chicanery was afoot with the entry of a relatively unknown suburban candidate sharing his last name.
Meanwhile, on the Republican side, Brady has been a fixture in the General Assembly since 2001 and claims he would improve what he deems long “lines, outdated technology and inefficient processes” at license facilities that have been overseen by White since 1998. Milhiser served as the top U.S. attorney in central Illinois from 2018 until last year, an appointment from former President Donald Trump that was supported by Illinois’ Democratic U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth. Milhiser told the Sun-Times that while he’s still highlighting the need to streamline tech and customer services, his emphasis is on “rooting out corruption to restore faith in government.”
Milhiser is part of the so-called “Griffin slate” — Republicans who are running with the support of billionaire Ken Griffin, the state’s richest person. But, despite that financial backing, the slate doesn’t seem to be getting much traction among likely Republican voters, according to a June 6-7 Chicago Sun-Times/WBEZ poll.
1st Congressional District
Who’s running? Everybody and their brother. Kidding — sort of. There are 17 Democrats and four Republicans in the race to replace outgoing Congressman Bobby Rush (D-Chicago). The ballot is filled with familiar names and newcomers all hoping to fill Rush’s shoes.
Here’s the list of Democrats: teacher Kirby Birgans, pastor Chris Butler, activist Jahmal Cole, State Sen. Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago), former restaurant owner Steven DeJoie, Ald. Pat Dowell, 3rd Ward, attorney Cassandra Goodrum, businessman and activist Jonathan Jackson, professor Terre Layng Rosner, minister Marcus Lewis, violence interrupter Ameena Matthews, nonprofit leader and Rush’s preferred replacement Karin Norington-Reaves, Robert Palmer, realtor Nykea Pippion McGriff, businessman and nonprofit leader Jonathan Swain, teacher Michael Thompson Jr. and government administrator Charise Williams.
And here are the Republicans in the race: veteran Eric Carlson, small business owner Jeffrey Reginer, former ward committeeman Philanise White and Geno Young.
Why is this important? The 1st Congressional District has been the base of Chicago’s Black political power for nearly a century, since Oscar DePriest was elected in 1929. Powerful Black leaders have held this seat, including Chicago’s first Black Mayor Harold Washington and William ‘Bill’ Dawson, who was adept at organizing Black voters and delivering patronage jobs to the community. The winner of the primary will likely win the seat in this Democratic stronghold come November. Residents elected Rush 15 times. But during his tenure, the district has also dealt with gun violence, declining population and the closure of public schools and housing.
What else do I need to know? Given an exodus of the Black middle class from Chicago’s South Side, the district has grown to include much of the city’s south suburbs and, with the most recent redistricting, now extends into portions of Will and Kankakee counties, capturing rural towns like Channahon and Bourbonnais. With a crowded field of Democratic candidates, it is likely a winner will emerge with far less than 50% of the vote.
3rd Congressional District
Who’s running? Five candidates are running, but two Democrats have emerged as the frontrunners in terms of money and name recognition — Chicago Ald. Gilbert Villegas, 36th Ward, and State Rep. Delia Ramirez, who represents the state’s 4th District.
Two others are running the Democratic primary. Iymen Chehade is a professor at Columbia College Chicago and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Juan Enrique Aguirre is a nurse and Chicago cannabis businessman.
Justin Burau, a real estate broker, is running unopposed in the Republican primary.
Why is this important? Both Ramirez and Villegas identify as progressive, are Latino and have roots on the Northwest Side of Chicago.
With no incumbent, they are trying to differentiate themselves in the eyes of voters. And the race to represent this district has become a proxy battle for the future of the Democratic party, and for the future of Latino politics in Chicago.
What else do I need to know? The district was created in the 2021 redistricting process to reflect a growing Latino population in Chicagoland and to be a stronghold for the Democratic party. It stretches from Chicago’s Avondale neighborhood on the Northwest Side, to western suburbs like Glen Ellyn, Bensenville and Bartlett of DuPage County.
While both candidates will have to appeal to more conservative voters in parts of the DuPage County suburbs in the district, candidates believe about 70% of voters will come from within Chicago city limits.
6th Congressional District
Who’s running? Democratic voters in Chicago’s western and southwestern suburbs are in the unusual circumstance of seeing two incumbents competing against each other on their primary ballot: U.S. Reps. Sean Casten and Marie Newman. They’re joined by Charles Hughes. The field is crowded on the Republican side: Niki Conforti, businessman Robert Cruz, Burr Ridge Mayor Gary Grasso, attorney Scott Kaspar, businesswoman Catherine O’Shea, and Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau are all on the ballot.
Why is this important? Illinois’ 6th congressional district and Chicago’s western suburbs have a long history of being represented in Congress by a Republican. But in 2018, Casten unseated Rep. Peter Roskam as part of the national Democratic wave that allowed the party to reclaim the majority in the House and he has represented the area since.
What else do I need to know? After Democrats in the Illinois statehouse approved a new congressional map that put Newman’s house in the same congressional district as U.S. Rep. Chuy Garcia, Newman decided that she would run for another term in Congress in the nearby 6th district. The Newman-Casten matchup between two current members of Congress has quickly turned bitter, as they try to retain power in Washington. While Newman has argued she has the progressive policy chops to win the Democratic primary, Casten has argued his moderate background would be a bigger advantage that would allow the Democrats to retain the seat in the November election. Recently, Casten and Newman’s campaigns suspended their ads after Casten’s teenage daughter died.
15th Congressional District
Who’s running? Two current Republican members of congress are competing against each other in the primary to continue representing a large swath of central and southern Illinois in the U.S. House of Representatives. Incumbent U.S. Reps. Rodney Davis and Mary Miller are squaring off against each other in the GOP primary as Paul Lange runs unopposed on the Democratic side.
Why is this important? This race is the result of the 2021 redistricting process, which saw Illinois lose a seat in the U.S. House. The new 15th congressional district pits two incumbent conservative candidates against each other. Miller, who is still in her first term as a congresswoman, won the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, but Davis is a seasoned politician who is well-known in the district.
What else do I need to know? Miller received Trump’s endorsement despite GOP leadership encouraging the former president not to get involved in this primary race. She is Illinois’ only member of the House Freedom Caucus and objected to the Electoral College results that favored Joe Biden. Her objection to the fair election mirrors that of likely Republican voters, who overwhelmingly believe that Trump should have been President, as a recent Chicago Sun-Times/WBEZ poll found.
Miller has come under criticism for having a child sex offender affiliated with her campaign and telling a Washington crowd that “Hitler was right on one thing” to get young people involved to ensure party strength in the future. And Miller’s husband, a state lawmaker, drew criticism for displaying a right-wing extremist logo on his truck when it was parked outside the U.S. Capitol on the day of the deadly insurrection there, on Jan. 6. Then, she garnered more criticism the weekend before the primary, when she credited Trump for the U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down abortion rights, and referred to a “victory for white life,” as well as an earlier court decision all but eliminating state regulations on carrying concealed weapons.
“President Trump on behalf of all the MAGA patriots in America, I want to thank you for the historic victory for white life in the Supreme Court yesterday,” Miller said. “Our victories for life and the Second Amendment would never have been possible if the never Trump RINOs had gotten their way.”
Her campaign said that she misread her speech.
Davis, who is running for his sixth term in Congress, touts his voting record as being closely aligned with Trump, and voted in tandem with the former president’s priorities nearly 90% of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight. He also served as Trump’s Illinois campaign chairman in 2020. Davis said he has received endorsements from most of the Republican County Board chairmen in the 15th district, plus support from sitting and retired state and federal lawmakers. But Davis differs from Miller in that he voted to certify the 2020 election results and he supported a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Illinois Supreme Court
Who’s running? Four Republicans and three Democrats are vying for the open seat previously held for two decades by retired Justice (and former Chicago Bear) Bob Thomas. The Republicans are Lake County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Shanes, Illinois Appellate Court Judge Susan Hutchinson, Kane County Circuit Court Trial Judge John Noverini and former Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran. The Democrats are Lake County Judge Elizabeth Rochford, Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering and Kane County Judge Rene Cruz.
Why is this important? Republicans are champing at the bit to take control of the Illinois Supreme Court with two open seats up on the November ballot, considering Democrats hold a narrow edge on the state’s highest court with a 4-3 advantage. The primary race is in the redrawn 2nd District, which covers a large part of northeastern Illinois, including DeKalb, Kendall, Kane, Lake and McHenry counties. Democrats need to win either the race in the 2nd District or the 3rd District — which does not have a contested primary on either side — to maintain their majority on the court.
What else do I need to know? The Legislature redrew the Supreme Court districts in 2021 — for the first time in nearly 60 years — after Democratic Justice Thomas Kilbride lost his bid for retention in 2020 in the 3rd District. The state’s Supreme Court has seven justices: three elected in Cook County and the four others in districts across the state. Illinois Supreme Court justices are elected to 10-year terms, after which they run for “retention” and can keep their position with approval from 60% of the electorate. The court plays an important role in interpreting Illinois law, sets policies for the rest of the state’s courts and appoints certain judges.
Cook County Board President
Who’s running? Toni Preckwinkle is running for her fourth consecutive term as Cook County Board president, a position she has held since 2010. Challenging her is attorney and former Cook County Board Commissioner Richard Boykin.
Why is this important? The Cook County Board president is the chief executive officer for the county and has significant oversight over its $8 billion budget — which grew significantly in 2022 thanks to a windfall of federal aid from the American Rescue Plan Act. The primary responsibilities for the next County Board president will involve working to improve public health and public safety issues facing the more than 130 municipalities in the county. The county is at a critical juncture as both issues have been strained over the past couple years because of a global health crisis and a surge in violent crime.
What else do I need to know? Preckwinkle has positioned herself as one of the county’s most senior progressive leaders. With the help of $1 billion received from the American Rescue Plan Act, she has helped enact new social-safety net programs, some of which will carry through into 2024. One of those programs, backed by federal funds, is the Promise Guaranteed Income Pilot, which will pay 3,250 residents $500 a month for two years. Preckwinkle has also expressed her desire to slash police funding and celebrated reducing the county’s jail population. Boykin, an Englewood native who lost a 2020 primary bid to be Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court, has been critical of Preckwinkle’s ability to curb violence in the county and addressing ongoing gun violence, telling the Chicago Sun-Times “she wants to let people out of jail, especially people who were charged with gun offenses.” Boykin also said there is an urgency to help residents as inflation continues to rise and she needs to do more to work in tandem with mayors across the county — especially Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who clobbered Preckwinkle in the 2019 mayoral runoff.
Cook County Assessor
Who’s running? Incumbent Assessor Fritz Kaegi has something of a fight ahead of him as he faces a challenger in the Democratic Primary: Kari Steele, who is the president of the Board of Commissioners for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD). Meanwhile, Nico Tsatsoulis is running unopposed on the Libertarian ticket.
Why is this important? If you own property in Cook County this race has the potential to have a direct impact on your pocketbook, as it is the assessor who determines the value of a property that ultimately plays a hand in determining how much an owner pays in property taxes.
When incumbent Fritz Kaegi won the seat four years ago, he defeated a longtime incumbent, delivering a major upset to the Democratic political establishment. Running on a platform of reform, Kaegi vowed to overhaul the county’s archaic assessment system after a series of news stories reported on some unfair assessment practices. A Chicago Tribune/ProPublica investigation found that wealthier property owners were paying less than their fair share in property taxes due to artificially low assessments, putting more of a tax burden on minority homeowners.
Kaegi spent much of his last four years in office investing in new technology and overhauling the formula the assessor’s office uses to determine property values to help close this gap, often butting heads with developers and commercial real estate interests who benefited from the old system.
What else do I need to know? Whether or not Kaegi succeeds depends on how much support his opponent, Kari Steele, can drum up ahead of the primary. A coalition of commercial real estate interests, developers and building trade unions support Steele’s campaign.
But Steele has also come under fire on more than one occasion for anti-semitic and offensive comments made by her husband, Maze Jackson, along with comments he made against the Latino community. Jackson, a well-known radio personality in the Black community, also works as a lobbyist for real estate interests, and that has led the Kaegi camp to suggest a potential conflict of interest for Steele, should she win. Also, several Chicago Sun-Times investigations revealed how the assessor has given out tax breaks over the years. That includes tax breaks to dead mobsters, errors in its “senior freeze” tax program and a miscalculation on COVID tax reliefs.
Cook County Sheriff
Who’s running? Sheriff Tom Dart is seeking a fifth term as Cook County’s top law enforcement officer, whose duties include policing unincorporated areas of the county, overseeing the sprawling jail complex in Little Village and providing security at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse at 26th Street and California Avenue. Three Democratic challengers are looking to unseat Dart, including Carmen Navarro Gercone, a former sheriff’s office official who left in 2020 for a position in Circuit Court Clerk Iris Martinez’s office. Martinez is backing Navarro Gercone in the race, though Navarro Gercone has faced challenges to her candidacy and she is not currently on the ballot (she has said she will challenge that ruling). Longtime peace officer, Chicago Police Sgt. Noland Rivera is also seeking the Democratic nomination. Dolton Police Officer LaTonya Ruffin’s candidacy has been dogged by petition challenges. She is also not currently on the ballot.
Why is this important? Starting next year, the sheriff will be on the frontline of implementing sweeping statewide criminal justice reforms, including the elimination of cash bail, which was passed last year in a historic vote by the state Legislature as part of the SAFE-T Act. Lawmakers are still figuring out how exactly the reforms will be implemented, but they are likely to have a major impact on the sheriff’s electronic monitoring for pretrial defendants and on the population of the jail. Proponents of the reforms say defendants shouldn’t be held in jail just because they can’t afford bond. But critics have pointed to cases where defendants on pretrial release have picked up serious new charges, including murder. How to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, which hit Cook County Jail and other penal institutions especially hard, will remain a priority for the sheriff.
What else do I need to know? Dart’s challengers are running for public office for the first time and have cited concerns about crime as the driving force behind their candidacies. Rivera touts his experiences as a military veteran and nearly three decades as a Chicago police officer and vows to seek additional funding for the sheriff’s office to hire more deputies in order to tackle a spike in carjackings, shootings and murders. Navarro Gercone points to her years in the sheriff’s office, eventually as a top official overseeing court services. She said she would reform the sheriff’s electronic monitoring program and put significant focus on tracking down defendants with active arrest warrants. But again, Navarro Gercone is fighting to get onto the ballot.
Cook County Board of Review
Who’s running? Tammy Wendt, Cook County Board of Review Commissioner for the First District, looks to defend her seat against Chicago Ald. George Cardenas (12th).
Why is this important? The Cook County Board of Review gives county taxpayers a chance to challenge property assessments they believe are too high. It is a three-member panel with quasi-judicial powers that can either deny or approve exempt status of residential, commercial, industrial, condominium property and vacant land. The First District stretches from as far south as Palos Heights across Chicago’s Southwest Side to as far northwest as Streamwood.
What else do I need to know? Incumbent Tammy Wendt is best known as a member of former Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke’s criminal defense team. She was elected to the county panel in 2020 after unseating the only Republican on the board. She is running on a platform to make it easier for property owners to appeal their assessments and ensuring fair tax bills for county residents. Wendt has been accused of nepotism for hiring her first cousin for a $150,000-a-year job as her chief of staff. The county’s Ethics Board determined she needed to fire her cousin and fined her $2,000 for violating rules against nepotism, the Chicago Tribune reported in March. Cardenas is running on a pledge to help working families and seniors find resources that will make the tax appeal process more friendly. He has vowed to hold frequent local forums to help property owners in his district file appeals and promises to hire a diverse staff. Cardenas also promised to release reports to the public that outline the methodology used to adjudicate appeals.
This crib sheet was written by Tony Arnold, Mitchell Armentrout, Alex Degman, Matthew Hendrickson, Dave McKinney, Claudia Morell, Manny Ramos, Jon Seidel, Patrick Smith, David Struett, Becky Vevea and Mariah Woelfel.