Historic win for Democrat Alvarez

February 6, 2008 4:04:39 PM PST
One of the closest races Tuesday night was the Democratic primary for Cook County state's attorney. Prosecutor Anita Alvarez won the party's nomination and will face Republican Tony Peraica in November.

Alvarez pulled out a narrow win over five other candidates, including Chicago Alderman Tom Allen and Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin.

Anita Alvarez had never run for public office. She is now 1-for-1.

"I kept saying is this real? Is it really happening?" Alvarez said.

Wednesday morning, Alvarez, her husband, and four children spent some celebratory time together after what happened Tuesday night. Alvarez is now the first woman, the first Hispanic to win a nomination in the race for Cook County state's attorney, "history" as her supporters chanted Tuesday night.

Alvarez is the No. 3 deputy now in the state's attorney's office. As No. 1, she says she would make the office more proactive, particularly on the tender issue of mistrust in law enforcement.

"I think one of my priorities would be to sit down with the new superintendent of the Chicago Police Department and the administrator of OPS, and say we need to do a better job, and set a protocol and follow it," said Anita Alvarez, (D) State's attorney candidate.

The career prosecutor now takes on the man who calls himself the citizen-politician, Tony Peraica, who Wednesday congratulated his opponent this way:

"She has done nothing to speak up for reform during her 22 years that she was there. I think it's incredible to believe that now all of a sudden Ms. Alvarez had an epiphany, and is going to be a change agent, in that office that she has done nothing to advance that cause in 22 years," said Tony Peraica, (R) state's attorney candidate.

Peraica describes Alvarez someone who has overstated her prosecutorial talent.

Alvarez says she is not sure what to expect from Peraica but Wednesday was an opening taste.

"He's run many more campaigns than I've been involved in, but I'm going to stick to my message, and we will regroup in a couple of days and a have a game plan together," Alvarez said.

With over 900,000 votes cast in the six-way Democratic primary, Alvarez won by only roughly 11,000 votes over her next nearest competitor, Alderman Tom Allen.

The party and the endorsements will now come for Alvarez who will have far less difficulty raising money for the general than she did in the primary.

Peraica is an already-proven fundraiser, but even with deep pockets, his will be an uphill fight against Alvarez.