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O’Neill Burke wins Cook County state’s attorney race

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(The Center Square) – Eileen O’Neill Burke declared victory Friday in the Democratic primary election for Cook County state’s attorney, 10 days after the final votes were cast.

O’Neill Burke, a former prosecutor and retired justice of the First District Appellate Court in Cook County, defeated Clayton Harris by about 1,500 votes with some mail-in and provisional ballots still to be counted, but not enough for Harris to overcome the deficit.

“It was worth the wait,” O’Neill Burke said. “I am so honored to be the Democratic nominee for Cook County state’s attorney.”

Harris, who was endorsed by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and the Chicago’s Teachers Union, conceded the race Friday.

“After months of organizing, meeting and talking with people from all across this county, and waiting for every vote to be counted, we’ve fallen a bit short of our goal,” Harris said in a statement.

Harris also was supported by outgoing State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, who chose to not seek reelection. Foxx was widely criticized for what many considered her “soft on crime” approach to the office.

O’Neill Burke argued during the campaign that the state’s attorney’s office has a mission to represent victims of crime.

“We want less crime and safer communities,” O’Neill Burke said.

O’Neill Burke led Harris by nearly 10,000 votes late on election night, but several thousand mail-in and provisional ballots still needed to be counted and diminished her lead. Controversy erupted during post-primary vote counting when the Chicago Board of Elections said there were about 9,000 more ballots still to be counted than what they indicated in a prior statement.

O’Neill Burke will face Republican Bob Fioretti and Libertarian Andrew Charles Kopinski in the General Election Nov. 5. Fioretti ran unopposed in the GOP primary.

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