Amid competitive races for governor and elsewhere on the ballot, Cook County voters also took to the polls to select permanent replacements for 10 vacant Cook County Circuit Court judgeships and 25 open posts on the county’s various judicial subcircuits, as voters cast ballots in the county’s primary election on Tuesday, March 20.
The elections were to fill vacancies left in the county’s judiciary in the wake of other judges’ decision to retire or to take other spots within Illinois’ state courts.
The election results were unofficial tallies posted March 20 and 21 by the Cook County Clerk’s Office – which counts ballots in suburban Cook County – and the Chicago Board of Elections. The results do not include tallies from 55 of Chicago's 2,069 precincts, which were not included in an official summary posted online by the Chicago Board of Elections on March 21.
COOK COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT
In contested balloting, in the Democratic Party primary:
In the race to fill the vacancy of retired Circuit Judge Eileen Brewer, Kathryn M. Vahey, a public defender, held the advantage over Oran Whiting and John Maher, winning 43.7 percent of the 603,918 ballots tallied to this point. Whiting had been appointed to replace Brewer when she retired in 2016, and had been endorsed by the Cook County Democratic Party.
In the contest to fill the vacancy of retired Circuit Judge Evelyn Clay, Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Kathleen T. Lanahan held the edge over three opponents, winning 37.2 percent of the vote. Jonathan Clark Green, a Chicago city attorney, had been endorsed in this race by the Cook County Democratic Party.
For the judgeship vacated by retiring Judge Deborah Dooling, Tom Sam Sianis, a member of the Sianis family that owns Chicago’s Billy Goat Tavern, and who now serves as Enforcement Division Chief of the Illinois Securities Department, had collected about 36 percent of the vote in a three-way race. Opponent Corri D. Fetman, a divorce attorney who had also posed as a model for and worked as a columnist for Playboy magazine, had garnered 32.6 percent, while Timothy J. Leeming, a Cook County public defender, had secured 31.2 percent of the vote. Sianis had been endorsed by the Cook County Democratic Party.
In the race to replace retired Judge Thomas Flanagan, Preston Jones Jr., who had been appointed to fill the judgeship following Flanagan’s departure, had secured 47 percent of the vote in a four-person contest, appearing to defeat opponents Amanda M. Pillsbury, Keely P. Hillison and Ioana Salajanu. Jones had been endorsed by the Cook County Democratic Party.
In the contest to fill the vacancy of Judge Michelle D. Jordan, Clare Joyce Quish, who had been appointed to replace Jordan until the election, had secured nearly 65 percent of the vote, appearing to easily defeat opponents Jerry Barrido and Patrick Dankwa John. Quish was endorsed by the Cook County Democratic Party.
To replace Judge Russell Hartigan, who retired, voters appear overwhelmingly to have selected Cecilia A. Horan, who had been appointed to fill Hartigan’s post until an election could determine his permanent replacement. Horan has received 78 percent of votes counted thus far, appearing to defeat opponent Keith L Spence. Horan was endorsed by the Cook County Democratic Party.
In the race to replace Judge Sheila McGinnis, who retired, Peter Michael Gonzalez, who was appointed to replace McGinnis on an interim basis, becoming the first male Latino judge appointed on a countywide basis in Cook County, appeared to have secured a win, garnering nearly 51 percent of the votes. He appeared to defeat opponents Brian T. Sexton and Bradley K. Trowbridge. Gonzalez was endorsed by the Cook County Democratic Party.
And in the race to fill the vacancy left following the 2015 death of Judge Jean Prendergast Rooney, 45, voters appeared to have selected Jack Hagerty, a partner at the firm of Taft Stettinius & Hollister, as Hagerty had collected 58 percent of the vote thus far. He appeared to defeat opponent Mable Taylor, who had also lost in a race for Cook County judge in 2016. Hagerty was endorsed by the Cook County Democratic Party.
Running unopposed in the Democratic Party primary for countywide circuit judge positions were: Rosa Maria Silva, for the vacancy of Judge Lynn M. Egan; and Thomas F. McGuire, for the vacancy of Judge Laurence Dunford. Both Egan and Dunford retired.
Silva, an assistant Cook County Public Defender, and McGuire, a former Cook County prosecutor with a private practice in Park Ridge, were each endorsed by the Cook County Democratic Party.
No Republican candidates have declared for any of the open countywide Circuit Court judge positions.
COOK COUNTY SUBCIRCUITS
In the contests for positions on the county’s subcircuits bench, winners appear to include:
In the 1st Subcircuit: domestic relations lawyer Erika Orr, to replace retired Judge Orville Hambright.
In the 2nd Subcircuit: Tiana Ellis Blakely, a Cook County public defender, to replace Judge Bertina Lampkin, who now serves on the Illinois First District Appellate Court; Adriene Elaine Davis, who was appointed to replace retired Judge Marjorie Laws; Toya T. Harvey, who was appointed to replace Judge James Rhodes, who retired; Ieshia Gray, a former Cook County public defender, to replace retired Judge John D. Turner Jr.; Debra A. Seaton, who was appointed to replace retired Judge Camille Willis; and Arthur Wesley Willis, a Cook County public defender, replacing Judge Valarie Turner, who was retired from the bench by order of the Illinois Courts Commission after she announced she had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s amid an investigation into why she allowed a now-fired Cook County law clerk to preside over some of her cases from the bench.
In the 3rd Subcircuit: Private practice attorney and former Cook County prosecutor Kevin Patrick Cunningham held an advantage over two opponents, Patrick Thomas Stanton and Michael Hayes, in the race to replace retired Judge Maureen F. Delehanty. As of the morning March 21, Cunningham had secured 37.6 percent of the vote, vs. 32.8 percent for Stanton.
In the 4th Subcircuit: David R. Navarro, a former assistant Illinois Attorney General, who was appointed to replace retired Judge Thomas Davy; and Elizabeth Ciaccia-Lezza, an assistant Cook County State’s Attorney, appeared to have edged out opponent John Andrew O’Meara, who had been appointed to replace retired Judge James Riley. As of the morning of March 21, it was reported that Ciaccia-Lezza had secured about 35 percent of the vote, to 32 percent for O’Meara. Others in the race included candidates Danny Collins and Martin D. Reggi.
In the 5th Subcircuit: In the race to replace retired Judge Patricia Banks, H. Yvonne Coleman, who was appointed to replace Judge Banks, appeared to have secured a win against opponents Rhonda Sallee and Gwendolyn D. Anderson, as well as Gino Betts.
Also in the 5th Subcircuit, Marian Emily Perkins, who was appointed to replace retired Judge Rickey Jones, appeared to have secured about 37 percent of the vote, narrowly besting opponents Jenetia Marshall and David L. Kelly.
And, in the 5th Subcircuit, Robert Harris, Cook County’s former public guardian, who was appointed to replace retired Judge Edward Washington III, also won election.
In the 6th Subcircuit, winners appeared to include: Kent Delgado, who was appointed to replace retired Judge Gloria Chevere; Andrea Michelle Webber, a Cook County public defender, to replace Judge Richard C. Cooke, who quit the bench after he refused an assignment to traffic court; and Linda Perez, a Cook County public defender, to replace retired Judge Robert Lopez Cepero.
In the 8th Subcircuit: Attorney and former judge James “Jamie” Shapiro, who had been appointed to the Cook County bench from 2007-2012, to replace retired Judge Candace Fabri; Lindsay Huge, a Cook County public defender, to replace deceased Judge Laura Liu, who died in 2016; and Jeanne Marie Wrenn, supervisor of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Legislative Unit, to replace retired Judge Sheryl Pethers, who announced on her retirement she had been frustrated by political considerations under Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans.
In the 10th Subcircuit: Stephanie Saltorous, who had been appointed to replace Judge Eileen O’Neill Burke, who now serves on the Illinois First District Appellate Court; and attorney Colleen Reardon Daly, a former Cook County prosecutor, to replace retired Judge Donald Suriano.
In the 11th Subcircuit: Joanne F. Rosado, who had been appointed to replace retired Judge Kathleen G. Kennedy.
In the 12th Subcircuit, in the Democratic primary: attorney Joel Chupack, for the vacancy of retired Judge William O. Maki; and in the Republican primary, attorney and former Cook County gang crimes prosecutor David Studenroth.
In the 13th Subcircuit, in the Republican primary to replace retired Judge Clayton Crane, attorney Gary Seyring; and to replace retired Judge Jeffrey Lawrence, attorney Daniel Patrick Fitzgerald, who currently serves as senior counsel for Walgreens and had previously served as an assistant Illinois Attorney General and chief legal counsel for the Office of the Illinois Inspector General, as well as Chief of the Bureau of Administrative Litigation in the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.
Attorney Christine Svenson ran unopposed for the vacancy of retired Judge Ann O’Donnell. She will oppose Democrat Samuel J. Betar III, who was appointed to replace Judge O’Donnell, and also ran unopposed in his party’s primary.
Also unopposed on the Democratic side in the 13th Subcircuit were candidates Shannon P. O’Malley, who had changed his name from Philip Spiwak, in the race for Judge Lawrence’s post; and Ketki “Kay” Steffen, who is seeing Judge Crane’s bench post.
In the 14th Subcircuit: Beatriz A. Frausto-Sandoval, an immigration lawyer, to replace retired Judge Rodolfo Garcia.
In the 15th Subcircuit: Attorney Michael B. Barrett, to replace retired Judge George Scully Jr.; and to fill the vacancy of retired Judge Frank Zelezinski, attorney Scott McKenna, a trial lawyer and partner with the firm of Best, Vanderlaan & Harrington.
Attorney Karla Fiaoni, who has served as police chief in Chicago Heights and as a Cook County prosecutor, ran unopposed in the Republican primary in the race for Judge Zelezinski’s seat.