Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Gonzalez fundraiser set for September 7

Supporters of Peter Michael Gonzalez's countywide judicial bid have scheduled a fundraiser for their candidate on Thursday, September 7, from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m., at Latinicity, on the 3rd floor of Block 37, 108 N. State Street.

Tickets for the event are $100 each, but sponsorships are available ($250 - Host Committee, $500 - Campaign Promoter, $1,000 - Campaign Leader). For more information about the event, or to order tickets, email

Judge Samuel J. Betar III to seek O'Donnell vacancy in 13th Subcircuit

After serving 19 years as an associate judge, the Illinois Supreme Court last month appointed Judge Samuel J. Betar III to the O'Donnell vacancy in the 13th Subcircuit. An email received this morning advises that Judge Betar plans to enter the March 2018 Democratic primary in an effort to keep this seat.

I'll have more information when it becomes available.

All three appointed judges slated for election by 8th Subcircuit committeemen

Photo obtained from Frank Calabrese
Multiple sources have confirmed that Judges Michael Forti, Robin D. Shoffner, and Myron "Mike" Mackoff, the three judges appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to 8th Subcircuit vacancies, have been slated for election by the Democratic Party committeemen of the 8th Subcircuit. Judge Shoffner is the first African-American to be appointed and slated to a vacancy in the 8th, a subcircuit that largely snakes along Chicago's Lakefront, and includes Chicago's 48th, 46th, 43rd, 44th, and 42nd Wards, as well as parts of the 3rd, 4th, 11th, 27th, 2nd, 25th, 32nd, 40th, 47th, and 49th Wards.

The 8th Subcircuit slating committee met yesterday evening at Ann Sather's Restaurant on Belmont. In addition to slating the three sitting judges, Lindsay Hugé was named as an alternate, meaning that he would be 'pre-slated' for a fourth vacancy in that subcircuit, should one open up in time for the March 2018 Primary.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Stephanie Saltouros, Colleen Reardon Daly slated in 10th Subcircuit

Per 47th Ward Committeeman Paul Rosenfeld, the 10th Subcircuit slating committee, which met this morning at Biagio's Banquets, has unanimously endorsed Judge Stephanie Saltouros and sole practitioner Colleen Reardon Daly for the two presently available 10th Subcircuit judicial vacancies.

Three candidates appeared before the slatemakers in addition to Saltourous and Daly. These were Judge Gerald Cleary (who holds the other 10th Subcircuit vacancy pursuant to Supreme Court appointment), Richard 'Rick' Cenar, and Jon Stromsta. Cenar was named first alternate, meaning he'd be pre-slated should a third vacancy open up; Cleary was named second alternate and Stromsta was named third alternate.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Jon Stromsta to make 10th Subcircuit bid; August 31 fundraiser set

Jon Stromsta, a partner with the Enterprise Law Group, has announced plans to seek a 10th Subcircuit vacancy in 2018. To that end, a campaign website has been established. That's a link to the site in the preceding sentence; a link has also been added to the blog Sidebar.

According to ARDC, Stromsta has been licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1985. His campaign bio notes that Stromsta served as a law clerk to United States District Judge Harold Baker of the Central District of Illinois before joining Ross & Hardies (now part of McGuireWoods LLC) in 1985, rising to partner in 1991. Stromsta also served as in-house counsel to the Teamsters’ Central States Funds, according to his campaign bio, litigating and arbitrating employee benefits matters nationwide. Stromsta's campaign bio stresses his pro bono representation of clients, particularly in death penalty cases.​

Stromsta has also worked for the Office of the State Appellate Defender in Chicago, serving in the Capital Litigation Division and the Post-Conviction Unit, and, later, David Pasulka & Associates, PC (formerly Pasulka & White, LLC), representing "clients in the negotiation and trial of issues including maintenance, child support, custody, business and asset valuation and allocation, pre- and post-nuptial and cohabitation agreements, and domestic violence claims," according to the campaign bio. He has been a partner with Enterprise Law Group, LLP, since 2010. A search of my archives suggests that this may Stromsta's first time running for judge (he was among the applicants for associate judge this past March).

Stromsta's supporters are throwing a fundraiser on his behalf this Thursday, August 31, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., at the Diversey River Bowl, 2211 W. Diversey. Tickets are either $50 or $100 each, depending on whether one wishes to bowl. For would-be bowlers, the $100 admission price includes shoe rental. Tickets may be obtained at this page of the candidate's website. For more information about the event, email Friends of Jon Stromsta.

September 14 fundraiser for Judge Kent Delgado

A Palos Heights venue, Zachary's Grill, 13415 South Ridgeland Avenue, has been selected by Judge Kent Delgado's supporters as the site for a fundraiser they will throw on behalf of their candidate on Thursday, September 14, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

No, Palos Heights is not in the 6th Subcircuit; it's not even close. Indeed, some lifelong north siders may need maps and a compass to supplement their GPS should they decide to journey to this far southwest suburb. However, even though the Clerk of the Circuit Court seems to think that Cook County has been divided into six county-lets (which is the only possible excuse that could be offered as to why we can no longer file papers for Daley Center matters at any suburban courthouse), this is not in fact the case. What's more, United States currency is just as freely negotiable in Palos Heights as it is in Logan Square.

The listed hosts for the reception are Hon. Colleen McSweeney Moore (Ret.), John Fairman, Steven Skinner, Robert Olson, Dennis Dwyer and Michael Chomiak. Tickets are $100 each, and sponsorships are available (Neighbor - $250, Friend - $500, Patron - $1,000, and Benefactor - $2,500).

To obtain more information about the event, or to procure tickets, email Neighbors to Elect Judge Kent Delgado.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Charlie Beach campaign website goes live

Designated as the first alternate in the 6th Subcircuit, meaning that he has already earned the support of local committeemen should a fourth judicial vacancy open up there, Charlie Beach has begun his contingent campaign for the bench. His supporters have just launched a campaign website in support of this effort. That's a link to the campaign website in the preceding sentence; a link has also been added to the blog Sidebar.

Licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1996, Beach has operated his own practice, Charles S. Beach, P.C., since 1999, "with an emphasis on DUI law and driving-related cases," according to his campaign bio. The campaign bio also notes that Beach has served six times as Chair of the Chicago Bar Association Traffic Law Committee. He is the author of "Traffic Court Practice and Procedure," written for the Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education. In addition to traffic matters, the campaign bio notes, Beach has handled real estate, commercial, and appellate matters.

Beach's campaign bio stresses significant pro bono experience and teaching experience as well. He has served as President of the Illinois Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Beach began his legal career in the Cook County Public Defender's office, before serving, in 1998-1999, as a law clerk to 3rd District Appellate Court Justice Judith Koehler. Beach and his wife Virginia (an attorney for Trinity Health) are raising three sons in their home near Hamlin Park.

September 14 fundraiser set for Richard 'Rick' Cenar

Richard 'Rick' Cenar is the Cook County Democratic Party's eighth alternate choice for a countywide vacancy (meaning that, should an eighth new countywide vacancy appear, over and above the seven vacancies for which the party made endorsements earlier this month, Cenar would be the party's choice in that race). However, the Cenar campaign is not merely waiting for retirement announcements to be posted; they're raising funds.

Cenar's supporters have scheduled a September 14 reception for their candidate-in-waiting at the Erie Cafe, 536 W. Erie Street. Tickets are $100 each, but sponsorships are available (Friend - $250, Supporter - $500, Host - $1,000).

Cenar is a resident of the 10th Subcircuit. He ran for a 10th Subcircuit vacancy in the 2016 primary. For more information about the September 14 event, email

Quish fundraiser set for September 20

Supporters of Judge Clare Joyce Quish's countywide judicial bid have scheduled a fundraiser for their candidate on Wednesday, September 20, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m., at the law offices of Pretzel & Stouffer, Chtd., One South Wacker, Suite 2500.

Tickets for the event are $50 each, but sponsorships are available ($100 - Supporter, $200 - Patron, $500 - Sponsor, $1,000 - Host, and $1,500 - Chair). To obtain more information about the fundraiser, or to procure tickets, email Eric Nelson at or call (773) 562-9559.

September 12 fundraiser for Judge Cecilia Anne Horan

Supporters of Judge Cecilia Anne Horan's countywide judicial bid have planned a Tuesday, September 12 fundraiser for their candidate, from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m., at the law offices of Tomasik Kotin Kasserman, 161 N. Clark Street, Suite 3050.

Tickets for the event are $150 each, but sponsorships are available ($500 - Supporter, $1,000 - Sponsor, $1,500 - Patron, $2,500 - Chair). Dan Boho, Kevin Burke, Kevin Conway, Shawn Kasserman, Larry Rogers Jr., Allan Schwartz, and Robert Walsh are the listed hosts for this event. To obtain more information about the fundraiser, or to purchase tickets, email Eric Nelson at or call (773) 562-9559.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Colleen Reardon Daly website up and running

As mentioned here briefly the other morning, Colleen Reardon Daly has announced plans to seek a 10th Subcircuit vacancy in the 2018 primary. Her supporters have launched a campaign website supporting her candidacy. That's a link to the site in the preceding sentence; a link has also been added to the blog Sidebar.

Her campaign bio notes that she has been in private practice since 2010, a sole practitioner operating as Colleen R. Daly, Attorney at Law, LLC. Before that, Daly spent 13 years as an Assistant State's Attorney in Cook County, rising through the ranks to a felony courtroom. Daly has been licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1996.

Daly is also a certified teacher, according to her campaign bio, and volunteers for "Wills For Heroes," drafting wills and other legal documents for first responders. A runner, Daly has run marathons to raise funds for Misericordia and the Danny Did Foundation. Daly and her husband, a Chicago Police sergeant, are the parents of three children. She previously ran for a 10th Subcircuit vacancy in 2016.

September 15 fundraiser set for 15th Subcircuit candidate McKenna

Supporters of Scott McKenna's 15th Subcircuit judicial bid have scheduled a fundraiser for their candidate on Friday, September 15, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., at the Square Celt Ale House & Grill, 39 Orland Square Drive, Orland Park.

Steger Mayor Ken Peterson is the listed host for this event. Tickets are priced at $75 each. Sponsorhsips are available (Sponsorship - $300, Premium Sponsorship - $1,000). For additional information about the event, or to reserve tickets, email

Four endorsed for three vacancies in 6th Subcircuit

Roots Pizza, on Chicago Avenue, just a couple of blocks east of Damen, was doing a brisk business this past Saturday afternoon. The front walls of the establishment were fully rolled up, the better for patrons to enjoy the unusually pleasant August weather.

One wonders what, if anything, the pizza parlor's patrons thought of the nervous, whispering knot of men and women in business attire, clustered by the back wall of the establishment's front room.

The best dressed among these were judicial candidates, but assorted friends, handlers, and consultants waited with them, as did a schlubby-looking blogger, joining the festivities already in progress. The 6th Subcircuit slating committee, consisting of those committeemen having any precincts within the subcircuit (or their duly designated proxies) was meeting in a banquet room at the rear of the restaurant, 1st Ward Ald. and Committeeman Proco Joe Moreno presiding.

One at a time, the hopefuls were brought before the committee, and given three minutes to spiel. Appearing before the committee were the two judges sitting by appointment to 6th Subcircuit vacancies, Kent Delgado and Stephanie Miller, former 6th Subcircuit candidate Ed Underhill, Charles C. Beach, Sean Kelly, Linda Perez, David Herrera, and Jacob Meister. (Meister was a candidate for Clerk of the Circuit in the 2016 Primary.) Members of the public were permitted to sit in on the presentations. Each candidate was asked, in turn, whether, if not slated, he or she would run against the endorsed slate and, if slated, whether he or she would be willing to contribute $10,000 to the 6th Subcircuit committeemen to be divided amongst their respective ward organizations. (In response to an already-suppressed comment, yes, 33rd Ward Committeeman Aaron Goldstein was in the room when this last question was asked of each judicial hopeful and, no, he did not protest the proposed assessment during the public session. What purpose would that serve? The $10,000 assessment will be collected, if possible, from each endorsed candidate, whether or not Mr. Goldstein protested publicly. Presumably, the other committeemen had already heard of Goldstein's Sun-Times op-ed. What was he supposed to do? Storm out?)

When the last hopeful had been heard from, after a quick snack, the committee deliberated in private session. Friends, handlers, consultants and bloggers are not allowed in The Room Where It Happens.

After the votes were tallied, the waiting candidates et al. were ushered back in to hear the results, which Ald. Moreno characterized as "unanimous." Judge Delgado was endorsed for the Chevere vacancy, Judge Miller was endorsed for the Lopez Cepero vacancy, and Ed Underhill was endorsed for the Cooke vacancy. Charles Beach was selected as first alternate, Ald. Moreno stating that the committee apparently has good reason to believe that a fourth vacancy will open up in the 6th.

Mind you, I have no inside information on this. I merely sat in the back of the room when presentations were being made, and hung around while the deliberations were ongoing. But the impression I developed while loitering in this fashion is that a rival slate is likely to emerge to challenge the official one -- and that alternate slate is likely to get significant support, privately -- and maybe even publicly, from some of those who were allegedly in unanimous concurrence last Saturday afternoon.

Kathryn Maloney Vahey to make 4th Subcircuit bid

Assistant Public Defender Kathryn Maloney Vahey has announced plans to seek a 4th Subcircuit vacancy. Her supporters have launched a campaign website in support of this bid. That's a link to the site in the preceding sentence; a link has also been added to the blog Sidebar.

According to ARDC, Vahey has been licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1998. In addition to the usual bachelor's and law degrees (in her case, from Canisius College and Loyola University Chicago, respectively), Vahey holds an M.A. in Spanish Language and Culture from Middlebury College in Vermont, according to her campaign bio.

The campaign bio notes that Vahey worked as a caseworker at St. Vincent’s Services in Brooklyn, New York, managing a caseload of children in foster care throughout New York City. While in law school, Vahey worked as a law clerk for Equip for Equality, a federally funded nonprofit organization that advocates for people with disabilities in Illinois. She also clerked for the Public Defender's Office, staying with that office since graduation. According to her campaign bio, Vahey now handles felony cases in Bridgeview.

Vahey, her husband, and their two sons live in Riverside. Her boys attend the local grade school and junior high school, according to the campaign bio. Vahey has served as the PTA Vice President of Fundraising for 2 years at Ames school and was also on the playground committee for District 96. In addition, according to the campaign bio, Vahey taught religious education to grade school children at St Mary in Riverside for three years.

She applied for associate judge earlier this year but, at least according to my archives, this appears to be Vahey's first foray into the judicial primary process.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Speaking of 10th Subcircuit candidates....

Colleen Reardon Daly has announced for the Suriano vacancy in the 10th Subcircuit. Daly was a candidate for a 10th Subcircuit vacancy in 2016.

Time does not permit me to put up a full post about her candidacy yet -- but Daly's campaign is having a fundraiser tonight at City's Edge, 5310 W. Devon.

Tickets for the event are $50 apiece, and sponsorships are available (Bronze Host - $150, Silver Host - $250, Gold Host - $500, Platinum Host - $1,000, or Chair - $2,500). For more information, or to reserve tickets, email

10th Subcircuit slating meeting set for August 29

Per an email from 47th Ward Committeeman Paul Rosenfeld, 10th Subcircuit committeemen will meet on the morning of Tuesday, August 29 in the Michelle Room at Biagio's, 4242 N. Central, to hear from candidates interested in being slated.

Each interview will last 10 minutes. Interviews are expected to last from 8:20 until 10:00 a.m.

Persons interested in appearing before the 10th Subcircuit slating committee can email to secure a time slot. (Prospective candidates not residing in the 47th Ward may also wish to introduce themselves to their own committeeman prior to the meeting.)

Saturday, August 19, 2017

August 31 fundraiser set for Kevin Cunningham

Supporters of Kevin Cunningham's judicial bid have scheduled a fundraiser for their candidate on Thursday, August 31, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Sidebar Grille, 221 N. LaSalle Street. Tickets for the event are $100 apiece and will be available at the door. Sponsorships are also available (Level 1 -$125, Level 2 - $250, Level 3 - $500, and Platinum - $1,000). For more information, or to reserve tickets, see this page of the candidate website or email

Noreen Connolly campaign website launched; will seek 10th Subcircuit vacancy

Noreen Connolly, Associate General Counsel at Verizon Communications, has announced her intention to seek a 10th Subcircuit vacancy. Her campaign website was recently launched. That's a link to the site in the preceding sentence; a link has also been added to the blog Sidebar.

Connolly has been licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1994, according to ARDC. Her campaign bio notes that she began her legal career in the Chicago Corporation Counsel's office, moving next to Arthur Andersen, where she was involved in "tax-related engagements, including tax technology/automation, planning, compliance and outsourcing engagements." In 2003, Connolly moved to Accenture, working with its U.S., State and Local Government Client Group, according to her campaign bio. She joined Verizon in 2008.

On the personal side, Connolly's campaign website stresses her Chicago roots, "the seventh of seven children of a Chicago fire chief and a hard-working full time mom." The campaign website notes that, in addition to her undergraduate work at the University of Illinois, and her attendance at IIT-Chicago-Kent Law School, Connolly also found time to study at University College, Galway. The campaign website also notes that Connolly has been active with Misericordia. A search of my archives suggests that this may be Connolly's first attempt at seeking judicial office.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Peter Michael Gonzalez campaign website launched, August 25 campaign kickoff event set

Supporters of newly slated candidate Peter Michael Gonzalez wasted no time in getting a campaign website online. That's a link to the website in the preceding sentence; a link has also been added the blog Sidebar.

Licensed as attorney in Illinois since 1994, according to ARDC, Gonzalez practices from an office on 51st Street in Chicago's Gage Park Community. According to his campaign biography, Gonzalez began his legal career as an Assistant Public Defender, spending eight years in that office before setting up his own practice "focusing mostly on criminal defense but also helping clients with employment, immigration and other civil issues." He was an Administrative Law Judge with the Illinois Department of Employment Security from 2003 to 2012. Since 2005, Gonzalez has also served, according to his campaign bio, as President of the 14th Ward Volunteer Legal Clinic. A first-generation Cuban-American, Gonzalez has been active in the Puerto Rican Bar Association and the Women's Bar Association of Illinois, serving on their respective judicial evaluation committee (his wife, Dawn, is a former WBAI President).

The Gonzalez campaign likewise not wasted any time in launching fundraising efforts: A "Neighborhood Campaign Kickoff Event" has already been set for Friday, August 25, from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m., at the home of Tarick and Megan Loutfi in Oak Park.

This is not a ticketed event, but, according to the campaign committee, "suggested donations start at $50." In addition to the Loutfis, the Host Committee for this event (still in formation) includes State Sen. Don Harmon, David Pope, Luke and Amie Casson, Dan and Liz Seltzer, Mel and Lisa Smith, Bill Kelly and Kathy Carpenter, Wayne Franklin and Peter Erickson, and Randy and Michelle Hess. For more information about the event, or to confirm your attendance, email

Michael Forti campaign website unveiled

Judge Michael Forti has announced plans to seek election to the Liu vacancy in the 8th Subcircuit, the vacancy to which the Supreme Court appointed him in September 2016.

Forti's supporters have unveiled a campaign website to boost Forti's election. That's a link to the site in the preceding sentence; a link has also been added to the blog Sidebar.

Prior to his appointment, Forti was Chief Counsel for Illinois Department of Transportation. Before that, Forti served as Deputy Corporation Counsel for the Constitutional and Commercial Litigation Division of the Chicago Department of Law and as the Chief Assistant Corporation Counsel of that division. Forti began his legal career with Bell Boyd & Lloyd (now K&L Gates), rising to partner before moving to the Corp Counsel's office.

A graduate of Northwestern University Law School, according to his campaign bio, Forti has been licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1980. He was a finalist for associate judge in 2014. He ran unsuccessfully for a countywide vacancy in 2012.

Breakfast reception for Judge David Navarro on August 29

Gentle readers, are your evenings so chock full of campaign-related events that your children have taken to asking you for identification when you finally do go home?

Well, here's a switch: The Chicago office of Wilson Elsner (55 West Monroe Street, Suite 3800) has scheduled a breakfast reception for Judge David Navarro on Tuesday, August 29, from 7:45 to 9:00 a.m.

To secure your place, or to obtain more information about the event, email Kathie Piscitello.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Three of six sitting judges endorsed for countywide judicial vacancies by Cook County Democratic Party

Multiple sources have confirmed that Judges Oran F. Whiting, Cecilia A. Horan, and Clare J. Quish have been endorsed by the Cook County Democratic Party for the upcoming March 2018 primary. Judge Elizabeth A. Karkula was named a fourth alternate, meaning four more countywide vacancies would have to open up in time for the primary before she would receive party backing.

Both Judge Marina Ammendola and newly-appointed Judge John S. Fotopoulos were bypassed by the Cook County Democratic Party's Central Committee, but that does not mean neither will receive any party support if they choose to try and stay on the bench: Either Ammendola or Fotopoulos might yet find backing for a subcircuit vacancy.

Meanwhile, in addition to Whiting (endorsed for the Brewer vacancy to which he was just appointed), Horan (Hartigan vacancy), and Quish (Jordan vacancy), the Democrats have endorsed Jonathan Clark Green for the Clay vacancy, Preston Jones Jr. for the Flanagan vacancy, Peter Michael Gonzalez for the McGinnis vacancy, and Jack Hagerty for the Rooney vacancy.

Green is an Assistant Corporation Counsel, working in the Federal Civil Rights Division of that office, according to ARDC; he has been licensed as a lawyer in Illinois since 1986. Preston Jones Jr. is an Assistant Cook County Public Defender and has been licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1994, according to ARDC. Peter Michael Gonzalez was briefly a candidate during the 2014 election cycle, but withdrew. He was the Democratic Party's fifth alternate selection for the 2016 primary. An attorney since 1994, according to ARDC, Gonzalez practices from an office on West 51st Street in Chicago. Hagerty is a partner in the Chicago office of Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP; he has been licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1990.

Alternates selected by the Cook County Democratic Party, in order, are Rosa Maria Silva, Tom S. Sianis, Thomas F. McGuire, Elizabeth A. Karkula, Thomas E. Nowinski, Pamela Reaves-Harris, Joseph P. Clary, and Richard 'Rick' Cenar.

Should slated judicial candidates be obliged to "contribute" $40,000 to the Democratic Party?

Thirty-third Ward Committeeman Aaron Goldstein (pictured at left) is the man who unseated legendary Committeeman Dick Mell. He is also an attorney who works as a supervisor in the Cook County Public Defender's Office.

In this morning's Chicago Sun-Times Committeeman Goldstein answers the question posed in the headline of this post with a resounding "no": "This practice needs to stop. Now."

Goldstein offers four reasons for his opinion (and explains each of these points in his piece, which I encourage you to read in full):
  1. It leads to a perception of corruption.
  2. It distracts from the principal issues in slating judicial candidates.
  3. It harms the slated candidate.
  4. It does not represent the costs claimed.
It does seem, well, unseemly when you think about it... an awful lot like a quid pro quo... you give us 40k and we'll slate you....


Are all quid pro quos bad things? I give Jewel $182; it gives me a cart full of groceries. I give the local gas station $32.18; I get a full tank of gas. Open and transparent. Totally above board.

On the other hand...

How can you equate paying Jewel for groceries with paying the Cook County Democratic Party for making some lucky, faithful party supporter into a judge?

Well, that would look bad. Except... 40k doesn't make anyone a judge. That's not the quo for the quid. All the party promises is slating.

There was a time, not within the living memory of any Millennial, or even most of the Gen-Xer's, when slating was tantamount to election -- unless one was slated for a suburban 'suicide squad' run. Readers of this blog know that slating these days carries with it no guarantee of election. I have previously suggested that all a candidate gets for $40,000 is credibility and access.

Even in those misty, far-off days of Daley I it was not much different:
Once slated for office, the candidate is expected to carry his own load as part of the ticket. The central committee does very little except to arrange appearances for him at the various ward and township organizations during the campaign. He is expected to raise his own campaign funds, establish his own campaign office, do his own advertising, and reach those segments of the electorate to whom he supposedly has the greatest appeal on behalf of the ticket. In fact, a candidate for a major office, rather than getting campaign funds from the county central committee, is expected to make a major contribution to the county central committee for the privilege of being slated for office by the party. He is also expected to buy tickets for every ward and township organization dinner dance, picnic, and golf day.
Milton L. Rakove, Don't Make No Waves, Don't Back No Losers, p. 98 (Indiana University Press, 1975).

There is one major difference in terms of what the Democratic Party does, or doesn't do, for its candidates these days as opposed to the days of yore. Today, although the party still gathers signatures for all candidates, a slated candidate is also expected to help out with his or her own nominating petitions. In Professor Rakove's day, after he managed a place on the county ticket (in 1970, in a 'suicide squad' race for a suburban seat on the Cook County Board), he came to the realization that he had no idea how to get the signatures necessary to qualify for the ballot. He promptly repaired to party headquarters to ask Chairman Daley's office manager, Mary Mullen, what he should do. "She responded, pointing to a stack of petitions on a table, 'See that pile over there on that table? Those are your signatures, 8,000 names. This is an organization we are running here.'" (Dont Make No Waves..., p. 99, n. 1.)

Because the Democratic Party can apparently no longer guarantee that it can, on its own, garner sufficient signatures to make all of its candidates' nominating petitions 'bullet-proof,' the day may come when a duly slated Democratic Party candidate gets knocked off the ballot. But that hasn't happened yet. Right now, almost any judicial candidate would rather be slated than not slated.

So -- and maybe this is because I've been steeped too long in a simmering sea of corruption and cynicism -- I don't necessarily see a transparent $40,000 judicial candidate assessment as a totally bad thing. It is a campaign expense, one that most judicial wannabes would be only too pleased to pay (even if they'd have to throw a lot of fundraisers to accumulate it), not much different from the fee charged by the election lawyer, the campaign consultant, the printer, the web designer, and so on.

On the other, other hand, though, does slating really mean unanimous support from all 80 Democratic Party Committeemen?

FWIW readers know the answer here. And several committeemen -- the 47th comes to mind -- have already made endorsements in judicial races. Will any of these endorsements be rescinded if the rest of the Cook County Democratic Central Committee fails to concur in these recommendations?

Other ward and township organizations will have endorsement sessions later on; several will diverge from the 'official' slate in one or more races. History ain't bunk: Sometimes past performance really is a great indicator, if not an outright guarantee, of future results.

And, less publicly, as the primary draws near, some ward or township organization---and I do not here refer solely to one headed by an upstart, independent, progressive or goo-goo (whatever term you prefer)---will abandon one or more slated judicial candidates in favor of some candidate who has somehow won the favor of the committeeman. This will probably happen in more than just one 'regular' ward or township. Check the archives. It happens, to a greater or lesser extent, in every election cycle.

If I buy a toaster at Target, and I take it home, and plug it in... and it promptly belches smoke and fire, I take the toaster back to the store and demand (and expect) a refund. I didn't get quo for my quid; I want my quid back.

When various Democratic committeemen 'dump' a slated candidate, does the Cook County Democratic Party ever offer at least a pro rata refund?

I think we all know the answer to that one.

Therefore, on balance... although I'm sympathetic to Committeeman Goldstein's position (if for no other reason than I'll never have $40,000 to spare on my own)... what is the alternative? Say assessments are outlawed. Does anyone seriously expect that Democratic Party slatemakers would not consider past contributions to party causes in making future slates? The quid pro quo issue would still be there, but now it would be pushed underground... and made to look dirtier, I think.

Look, I agree with Committeeman Goldstein that "the party should be focused on promoting qualified, ethical and fair candidates that represent our diverse county. Period." But I think he asks too much if he thinks the party would not also want, and expect, and in some sense be entitled to, the support of those good people that it chooses to promote. Keep the assessment public -- and, slated candidates, watch that toaster for the first sign of smoke!

Keep your comments civil and don't get personal -- I'd like to publish as many comments as I can.

Thirty-four judicial hopefuls pitch Cook County Democratic Party committeemen

I could not go to the Cook County Democratic Party's slating meeting yesterday at the Erie Cafe---lawyer stuff getting in the way again---but David Thomas of the Law Bulletin was there and his article is in today's paper and online.

According to Thomas, the six sitting countywide appointees were given the privilege of addressing the slatemakers first. These were Judges Marina Ammendola, John S. Fotopoulos, Cecilia A. Horan, Elizabeth A. Karkula, Clare J. Quish, and Oran F. Whiting.

These following individuals also pitched the slatemakers, according to the Law Bulletin:
  • Erin Antonietti
  • Richard G. Cenar Jr.
  • Joseph P.M. Clary
  • Athena A. Farmakis
  • Mike Gonzalez
  • Jonathan Clark Green
  • Jack J. Hagerty
  • Preston Jones Jr.
  • Kathaleen T. Lanahan
  • John Maher
  • Thomas McGuire
  • William McLaughlin
  • Thomas E. Nowinski
  • James A. Pontrelli
  • James Reilly
  • Ioana Salajanu
  • Athanasios “Tom” S. Sianis
  • Christ S. Stacey
  • Daniel Trevino
  • Lynn Weaver-Boyle
  • Frank J. Andreou
  • Joseph Chico
  • Rosa Maria Silva
  • Bradley R. Trowbridge
  • Erika Lyn Orr
  • Caroline Smith-Jones
  • Natalie L. Howse
  • Pamela Reaves-Harris
Only seven of these individuals will be slated for the seven countywide vacancies. If form holds, the Party will also slate one or more alternates (last time there were four) -- persons effectively 'pre-slated' for any new countywide vacancies that may open up in time for the March 2018 primary. History suggests that it is likely that at least another countywide vacancy will open up in time.

Some of these persons will wind up running in subcircuits, with or without Party support. But slating in the subcircuits is handled by the committeemen in each subcircuit; some will have open slating meetings, some will not.

Even though I wasn't there yesterday, I can tell you that each of these presenters was asked whether they would support the Committee's decision (meaning that they would not run against the slate). I would bet that, though some may have tried to leave some lawyerly wriggle-room, all indicated that they would abide by the slatemakers' decisions. Most will honor that promise in hopes of gaining support in the future. They will wait.

Some have been waiting for quite awhile.

Who Sits Where -- Slating edition

Odd, isn't it, that the Illinois State Board of Elections puts up the official list of vacancies just in time for the Cook County Democratic Party's slating meeting? Anyway, time again to update this list -- but, I am pleased to say, most of the changes reflected here are ones you've already read about on FWIW. My readers make me look smart again! And, of course, all errors of omission or commission in this list are mine alone and I am grateful for additions and corrections provided.

Countywide Vacancies

Vacancy of the Hon. Eileen Mary Brewer -- Oren F. Whiting
Vacancy of the Hon. Evelyn B. Clay -- John S. Fotopoulos
Vacancy of the Hon. Thomas E. Flanagan -- vacant
Vacancy of the Hon. Russell W. Hartigan -- Cecilia A. Horan
Vacancy of the Hon. Michelle D. Jordan -- Clare J. Quish
Vacancy of the Hon. Sheila McGinnis -- Marina E. Ammendola
Vacancy of the Hon. Jean Prendergast Rooney -- Elizabeth A. Karkula

Subcircuit Vacancies

1st Subcircuit

Vacancy of the Hon. Orville E. Hambright, Jr. -- Litricia P. Payne

2nd Subcircuit

Vacancy of the Hon. Bertina E. Lampkin -- Fredrick H. Bates
Vacancy of the Hon. Marjorie C. Laws -- Adrienne E. Davis
Vacancy of the Hon. James L. Rhodes -- Toya T. Harvey
Vacancy of the Hon. John D. Turner, Jr. -- Travis Richardson
Vacancy of the Hon. Camille E. Willis -- Debra Ann Seaton

3rd Subcircuit

Vacancy of the Hon. Maureen Leahy Delehanty -- Patrick T. Stanton

4th Subcircuit

Vacancy of the Hon. Thomas Davy -- David R. Navarro
Vacancy of the Hon. James Riley -- John A. O'Meara

5th Subcircuit

Vacancy of the Hon. Patricia Banks -- H. Yvonne Coleman
Vacancy of the Hon. Rickey Jones -- Marian E. Perkins
Vacancy of the Hon. Edward Washington II -- vacant

6th Subcircuit

Vacancy of the Hon. Gloria Chevere -- Kent A. Delgado
Vacancy of the Hon. Richard C. Cooke -- Unfilled
Vacancy of the Hon. Robert Lopez Cepero -- Stephanie K. Miller

8th Subcircuit

Vacancy of the Hon. Candace J. Fabri -- Robin D. Shoffner
Vacancy of the Hon. Laura Cha-yu Liu -- Michael A. Forti
Vacancy of the Hon. Sheryl A. Pethers -- Myron F. Mackoff

10th Subcircuit

Vacancy of the Hon. Eileen O'Neill Burke -- Stephanie Saltouros
Vacancy of the Hon. Donald J. Suriano -- Gerald V. Cleary

11th Subcircuit

Vacancy of the Hon. Kathleen Kennedy -- Joanne F. Rosado

12th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. William O. Maki -- vacant

13th Subcircuit

Vacancy of the Hon. Clayton J. Crane -- Unfilled
Vacancy of the Hon. Jeffrey Lawrence -- Michael Perry Gerber
Vacancy of Hon. Ann O'Donnell -- Samuel J. Betar, III

15th Subcircuit

Vacancy of the Hon. George F. Scully, Jr. -- Diana L. Embil
Vacancy of the Hon. Frank G. Zelezinski -- Anthony C. Swanagan

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Jeanne Marie Wrenn to seek 8th Subcircuit vacancy; August 16 kickoff reception set

A campaign website has been established in furtherance of Jeanne Marie Wrenn's 8th Subcircuit judicial bid. That's a link to the campaign website in the preceding sentence; a link has been added to the blog Sidebar. The campaign also has a Facebook page.

Until earlier this year, Wrenn served as Senior Director and General Counsel at the National Safety Council. Before that, Wrenn worked as Ethics and EEO Officer for PACE. She has been licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 2003, beginning her career in the office of the Cook County State's Attorney. After service there in the Traffic and Narcotics Divisions, Wrenn was assigned to the Legislative Unit, acting as a legislative liaison to the Illinois General Assembly, rising to Supervisor from December 2008 until she joined PACE. Wrenn made the associate judge short list in 2016.

Wrenn's supporters are throwing a campaign kickoff reception for their candidate on Wednesday, August 16, starting at 5:30 p.m. at Lizzie McNeill's Irish Pub, 400 N. McClurg Ct. Former Cook County State's Attorney Richard Devine, former Judge Maureen Durkin Roy, former Cook County Assessor James Houlihan, Eddie Austin, Terry Banich, Sarah Burke, Timothy Cavanagh, Molly Cullen, Mike Forde, Kim Halvorsen, Michael Gallagher, William Harte, Jack Hartman, Shawn Kasserman, Daniel Kotin, Fred Krol, Tom McCauley, Tom Moore, Pat Nash, Thomas Pikarski, Richard Prendergast, Colleen Rock Mueller, Jay Rock, Meredith Ritchie, Mathew Rundio, Eileen Sethna, Michael Sorich, and Peter Wall are the listed hosts for this event.

Tickets are priced at $100 each, but sponsorships are available ($250 - Bronze, $500 - Silver, $1,000 - Gold, and $2,500 - Platinum). For more information about the event, or to reserve tickets, email or call (773) 270-2051.

Retirement party for Judge William O. Maki set for August 17

A retirement party is being thrown for Third Municipal District Presiding Judge William O. Maki on Thursday, August 17, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Ditka's Restaurant, 2000 W. Euclid Avenue in Arlington Heights.

Tickets are $45 apiece (cash only). Appetizers, wine, beer and pop are included in the ticket price.

For more information, or to reserve tickets, call Carol Mulroe in the Presiding Judge's office, at (847) 818-2287, by Friday, August 11.

Judge Maki's pending retirement will open up a vacancy in the 12th Subcircuit.

Friday, August 04, 2017

HLAI Latina Lawyers Committee presents candidate seminar next Tuesday

The Latina Lawyers Committee of the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois is presenting a seminar, The Nuts & Bolts of Running for Office, on Tuesday, August 8, 2017, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at Jáuregui & Associates-Pilsen Law Center, 1545 W. 18th Street, Chicago.

Prominent election lawyer Burt Odelson, the managing partner of Odelson & Sterk, Ltd., will serve as moderator for the event. Panelists include Luke Keller, the Vice Chair of the Chicago Bar Association Election Law Committee; election lawyer Adam Lasker, of Adam W. Lasker Law, LLC, and general counsel to the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners; and Sarah Garza Resnick, Chief of Staff for Cook County Clerk David Orr.

Seating is limited and reservations are required. To reserve a space email by Monday, August 7 or call HLAI Immediate Past President (and Odelson & Sterk attorney) Claudia Castro at (708) 424-5678.

Victory Research offers help for judicial candidates

Running for Judge is never easy under any circumstances. If you aren’t slated by the party, you know how difficult it can be to even get on the ballot. Now, even if you’re slated the party wants you to get some of your own signatures.That’s where Victory Research comes in. Since 2012 we have successfully put more than two dozen judicial candidates on the ballot. Including our work for Independent Maps, we collected more than 100,000 valid signatures during the 2016 election cycle. This year, it is your turn. If you hire us you WILL be on the ballot. Then, with the other services we offer, we will help you win your campaign. Please visit our website at, then call us at 312-388-1782, and ask for Mr. Murphy to find out how we can help you get on the ballot and win your campaign for Judge this year.

Barrido website goes live; supporters plan September 10 picnic fundraiser

Supporters of Jerry Barrido's countywide judicial bid have launched a campaign website and have announced a fundraiser for their candidate on Sunday, September 10. That's a link to the campaign website in the preceding sentence; a link has also been added to the blog Sidebar.

As for the September 10 fundraiser, the Barrido campaign has dubbed it a "Picnic in the Park," to be held at Kiwanis Park, 8820 Brookfield Ave., in Brookfield, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Angela McGovern Franklin is the listed host for the event, at which picnic fare, including beer and wine, will be served. Music and other entertainment has been promised, and the organizers expect to have volleyball, basketball and other games for participants to enjoy.

Individual tickets are priced at $25 each, and sponsorships are also available (Supporter - $50, Sponsor - $250). Larger families may wish to attend for a special family price of $100. The campaign is asking that tickets be purchased on the campaign website.