Monday, December 14, 2015

No matter how unpopular, can anyone put up a serious challenge to Alvarez for state’s attorney this year?

I don’t doubt that some people are outraged at Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, and not just because it seems her office took way too long to decide to prosecute the shooting death of a black teenager by a white Chicago cop that some want to view as an open-and-shut case.

But I still wonder if Alvarez’ chances of political survival are based on the idea that all the people who can’t stand her won’t be able to unite behind a single challenger.

BECAUSE AS OF now, there are two people saying they’ll run against her in the March election for the Democratic nomination for state’s attorney.

We have Kim Foxx, whom it seems is the preference of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, and Donna More, herself a career prosecutor and part of the legal community.

I found it amusing to learn of a Public Policy Polling poll this week that actually had Alvarez with 33 percent voter support in the lead.

It placed Foxx in second place with 24 percent, and More with 11 percent at this point in time.

ACTUALLY, I SHOULD write that Foxx is in third place, because “undecided” was actually in second place 32 percent. Which is understandable – it’s early. How many rational people have given any thought to the March primary elections?

Only the political geeks (such as myself) who can’t comprehend that real people have lives and won’t give much thought to down-ballot races for another couple of months.

It’s always possible that a Foxx/More brawl could wind up splitting people so much that the people who always are inclined to back an incumbent could be just enough to win this election.

Particularly if it is true what I hear that More has the potential to tap into wealthy contributors and have the campaign fund that could allow her to be competitive. We probably shouldn’t presume that it would be “Foxx” finishing in second place in this election cycle.

ALTHOUGH IT’S ALSO possible that some of those contributors could come back to bite More in the behind. She’s already drawing criticism for the fact that she was one of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s financial supporters in the 2014 gubernatorial election cycle.

Making some say her claims of being a Democratic partisan are nothing but a crock if she was one of the people who “sold out” Pat Quinn to give us the current governor and the budget stalemate that makes Illinois government the peak of our political foolishness these days.

But I’m not ruling her out, because I don’t doubt some of those people who were itching for a political statement would view More as providing a shakeup similar to what Rauner thinks he’s doing at the state government level.

Then again, maybe Foxx will be the second place finisher and More will wind up being the person who deprives her of enough Alvarez opposition votes to actually be capable of winning the election.

OF COURSE, IT’S still early. It’s 90 or so days to March 15 and the primary that probably will be dominated by thoughts of presidential hopefuls. There still is time for both Foxx and More to fall into the political trap of saying something stupid that gets exaggerated into a major scandal that allegedly shows up unfit either woman is for public office.

Not that I expect Alvarez’ perception to change. I suspect the people who always were opposed to her will remain so, and there’s nothing she can do to improve. She just has to avoid sinking herself lower than she already is.

Because she’s not that far from “36 percent.” That’s the level of support that Harold Washington got in the 1983 primary for mayor. A majority of Chicagoans that time around desperately wanted – for whatever reason – either Jane Byrne or Richard M. Daley.

While I’m not comparing Anita to Harold, let’s be honest. This primary could become a brawl between Foxx and More that winds up maintaining the status quo.


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