CHICAGO — In the race for Cook County State’s Attorney, the first African American woman to hold the job is trying to convince critics she deserves a second term. However, Republican Pat O’Brien is hoping his message can lead to an upset of incumbent Kim Foxx next Tuesday.
With Chicago’s shootings and murders up 50%, the chief prosecutor in Cook County is facing the voters. Will they re-hire Democrat Foxx — a champion of criminal justice reform? Or pick challenger O’Brien — a Republican promising a tougher on crime approach.
“I’m not defeating her agenda all I’m doing is supplementing it with the prosecutor’s determination to prosecute violent criminals,” O’Brien said.
That’s O’Brien message — that Foxx is too lenient on criminals.
“At every stage of her policy she has failed,” he said. “She’s failed at charging, she’s failed once charged to carry through the case to a disposition, she’s dismissed over 25,000 cases in her four years, that’s 30 percent more than any other State’s Attorney.”
Foxx, who’s made righting the inequities of the criminal justice system her platform, is defending her record.
“When we have cases in which we’re able to prosecute, we charge them and we prosecute them in the same way that we’ve done for the last four years,” she said.
This summer as violence and unrest spread, a frustrated Chicago Police Supt. David Brown called for stiffer penalties for gun offenders.
“When they have no consequence, violence continues,” he said.
“You know, working at this the last four years violent crime for the first three years of my administration went down prior to Mr. Brown getting here and so while I understand his frustration for this summer and that the violence that we’re seeing, it’s just not backed up,” Foxx said.
To close the campaign, Foxx has gone on offense with a TV commercial slamming O’Brien’s work as a former Circuit Court judge and assistant state’s attorney.
Ad-SOT-An angry Republican who wants to lock them up regardless of evidence, it’s not Donald Trump. It’s Pat O’Brien,” the commercials says.
“His view of prosecution has led to dozens of wrongfully convictions,” Foxx said.
O’Brien said in terms of what reforms he would back to make sure that the system does a better job, he thinks DNA is important.
“It’s overturned a lot of convictions,” he said. “We’re going to move so that the DNA testing for people in custody, whether it’s in jail or whether they’ve already been convicted, gets done more quickly.”
The state’s attorney contest is one of this year’s most watched local races. Despite controversy, the Democratic establishment remains with Foxx while major law enforcement groups back O’Brien.
Foxx would not agree to a TV debate. There is a Libertarian candidate on the ballot, Brian Dennehy. WGN tried to book him for an interview but was not successful.