CHICAGO — For serious competitive primary campaigns, it’s just about go-time. So Clayton Harris III, who’s hoping to succeed Kim Foxx as States Attorney, is stepping up public appearances.

He’s been angling for months, even attending a Democratic Party candidate pre-slating event in June.

“I’ve got that Johnny Cash song, ‘I’ve Been Everywhere,’ playing in the car,” Harris III said.

Now it’s official, Harris’ campaign for Cook County States Attorney is off to the races.

“My focus is safety and justice, and we can do both,” Harris said. “It’s not one or the other, it’s both.”

A former Assistant State’s Attorney, City Hall staffer and counsel at the Chicago Department of Transportation, Harris was careful not to criticize outgoing States Attorney Kim Foxx.

“I am the balance, the bridge, the evolution of what has been going on and we’re going to move forward to ensure that our communities feel safe and that we’re being safe through justice,” Harris said.

WGN News asked Harris if he would want Foxx’s endorsement.

“I would absolutely appreciate Kim Foxx’s endorsement,” Harris said.

Harris already has the backing of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, almost guaranteeing him an influx of campaign cash and volunteers. He told WGN News that he has no problem being labeled the ‘establishment candidate.’ In fact, Harris believes a Preckwinkle endorsement ‘absolutely helps’ his campaign.

“She’s the president of the county. Her support, her backing is very influential, and she’s teed me up so that we can move forward,” Harris said. “I’m looking at garnering a large tree myself so that there are multiple branches on there from all walks of life.”

A resident of Washington Park on the South Side, Harris is a lecturer at the University of Chicago.

“Currently, I’m teaching Policing Race in America: Black, White and Blue. I think it gives me an added dimension,” he said.

Harris is set to face off against retired Appellate Court justice Eileen O’Neill Burke, who kicked off her campaign last month.

Others considering a run include former Assistant States’s Attorney Dan Kirk, former Alderman Bob Fioretti, former Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin and Foxx’s first assistant Risa Lainer.

On the Republican side, former GOP House Leader Jim Durkin’s name has been mentioned.