Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx claimed a victory last night. The incumbent beat out her staunchest rival, adjunct DePaul University professor Bill Conway, whose campaign was primarily financed by his billionaire father, William Conway Jr. He spent millions of dollars on television ads criticizing Foxx’s handling of the Jussie Smollet case and her ties to embattled Chicago Alderman, Edward Burke. Foxx won with 50.2% of the vote, Conway had 31.3%. Challenger’s former federal prosecutor Donna More and Chicago Alderman Bob Fioretti came in at a distant third and fourth place, with 13.4% and 5.0%, respectively.
Kim Foxx took office on December 1, 2016. She is the first African-American woman to lead the second-largest prosecutor’s office in the country. Foxx has revamped the office’s Conviction Integrity Unit, resulting in 80 overturned convictions, and the first mass exoneration in Cook County for 15 men whose convictions stemmed from misconduct by a Chicago Police Officer. She is also a leader in bond reform, where she instructed prosecutors to review bond decisions for detainees who are unable to pay bonds of $1000 or less. Foxx played an integral role in passing legislation to legalize cannabis. Before passing that legislation and acknowledging that the failed war on drugs disproportionately affected communities of color, Foxx vacated 1000 marijuana convictions.
Democratic candidates for Cook County state’s attorney in the March primary are, from left, Bob Fioretti, Kim Foxx, Bill Conway and Donna More. Photo Credit: Jeff Knox
Despite Foxx’s challengers who tried to make former Empire star Jussie Smollett’s case the central issue, she managed to convey to her voters to focus on the breadth of her criminal reform efforts, and not just a single case. On her victory, Foxx contends, “Tonight, the voters have once again spoken, and are calling for us to continue our mandate of criminal justice reform. I pledge to keep pushing for change that is fair, that is just and equitable while keeping our communities safe. To everyone who rallied around this race and made it bigger than one issue, who rejected the notion that we would talk about one singular case and that would matter to people of Cook County, and put everything on the line for this, I thank you.” Bill Conway called to concede around 9:20 P.M. last night.
Kim Foxx will face off in the general election against former Judge Pat O’Brien, who won the Republican primary by a significant margin over Prosecutor Christopher Pfannkuche.