Southland Election Watch: Important Races to Watch in the Southland’s Democratic Primary

Southland Election Watch: Races to Watch in the Southland
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Southland Election Watch: Important Races to Watch in the Southland’s Democratic Primary (Cook County, IL) — As primary season heats up, voters will be headed to the voting booth to cast ballots in the Primary Election on March 19. Early voting and vote-by-mail is already under way.

Two important elections to watch in the Southland region are the Cook County State’s Attorney Race, and the race for 15th Subcircuit judge. Both races have two contenders in the Democratic Primary election.

Cook County State’s Attorney

Clayton Harris III

Clayton Harris III is a public policy professor at the University of Chicago. Although he has not held public office before, he has experience working as a prosecutor in Cook County and has served in various roles under the administrations of Mayor Richard Daley and Governor Rod Blagojevich. In the private sector, he has worked for CH2M Hill, The Illinois International Port District, Lyft, and has taught public policy at the University of Chicago.

Harris’ approach on crime is reminiscent of current State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, who many believe has a “soft” approach. Foxx has received outspoken criticism of her handling of violent crime, theft, and burglaries, namely choosing to not prosecute thefts under $1,000, a practice that Harris says he will continue if elected to the office.

Find out more about Clayton Harris III here.

Eileen O’Neill Burke

Former Illinois Appellate Court Justice Eileen O’Neill Burke has spend much of her career in public service. She spent ten years working as Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney before becoming a criminal defense attorney. In 2008, Burke as elected to the Circuit Court of Cook County, where she served for 8 years before being elected to the Illinois Appellate Court. She stepped down from that position before announcing her run for Cook County State’s Attorney.

O’Neill Burke’s approach on crime is tougher than Harris’. She wants to restore the $300 felony threshold on thefts and wants to step up gun control efforts. She also wants to ensure restorative justice and early intervention efforts continue to keep Cook County’s youth out of jail.

Find out more about Justice Eileen O’Neill Burke here.

John Heiderschedit, Criminal Defense Attorney; Subscription Lawyer; Chicago Lawyer

15th Subcircuit Judge

Luciano “Lou” Panici Jr.

South suburban Chicago Heights native Luciano “Lou” Panici Jr. is an attorney in private practice. In addition to municipal law, Panici also includes criminal defense work, DUI/traffic, driver’s license reinstatements, election matters, personal injury, estate planning, and real estate. He is also a certified Administrative Hearing Officer and hears a variety of cases as the Hearing Officer in a multitude of South Suburban municipalities.

Panici has secured a number of endorsements in his run for judge, including the endorsements of several area leaders and organizations, including Monica Gordon – Bloom Township Democratic Committeeperson, Calvin Jordan – Rich Township Democratic Committeeperson​, Beth Kirkwood – Orland Township Democratic Committeeperson, Vernard Alsberry, Jr. – Bremen Township Democratic Committeeperson, Kevin Ameriks – Lemont Township Democratic Committeeperson, Senator Michael E. Hastings – Illinois State Senator, District 19, Senator Patrick Joyce – Illinois State Senator, District 40, Rep. Anthony DeLuca – Illinois State Representative, District 101, Thomas “T.J.” Somer – Bloom Township Supervisor, Mayor David A. Gonzalez – Chicago Heights, Mayor Terry Matthews – South Chicago Heights, Mayor Ken Peterson – Village of Steger, Mayor Ron Gardiner – Village of Glenwood, Mayor Joseph A. Woods – Village of Park Forest, Mayor Rick Reinbold – Village of Richton Park, Mayor Roger Agpawa – Village of Markham, Mayor Sheila Chalmers-Currin – Mayor of Matteson, Italian American Political Coalition, Chicago Southland Black Chamber of Commerce, and the Chicago Federation of Labor.

Find out more about Luciano “Lou” Panici here.

Paul O’Grady

Paul O’Grady is the current Orland Township Supervisor. He works as a municipal attorney for several area municipalities, including Homer Glen and Tinley Park. He formerly worked as a Cook County Sheriff and deputy police officer.

Although O’Grady is running in the Democratic primary, recent election records indicate that he has voted as a Republican. His political ties have him connected closely to the Republican mayor of Homer Glen, Christina Neitzke-Troike, who allegedly won her seat with state Republican backing. He has also gotten into a public tiff with longtime 28th district representative Robert Rita (D-28th).

Paul O’Grady has no website information listed.

Southland Election Watch: Races to Watch in the Southland


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