Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Iris Martinez faces primary challenge from Mariyana Spryopoulos

Sarah Schulte Image
Wednesday, March 6, 2024
Cook County Clerk Iris Martinez faces major primary challenge from Mariyana Spryopoulos
Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Iris Martinez faces a major challenge in the Illinois Democratic primary from Mariyana Spryopoulos.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Iris Martinez faces a major challenge in the Illinois Democratic primary from Mariyana Spryopoulos.

She may be the incumbent, but Martinez said she is definitely the underdog in this race.

"I'm ready for the fight, I really believe the people are going to elect me again because of the work we have done not because of politics played behind the scenes," she said.

Spryopoulos, a former prosecutor and defense attorney, spent the last 13 years on the Water Reclamation District Board.

"I have a lot of experience with management and big budgets as well court system bringing them together to make this office worker," she said

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Spryopoulos is backed by Toni Preckwinkle and the Cook County Democratic Party. In addition, she and her family have donated close to $1.4 million to her campaign, a huge amount for an office that tends to be overlooked despite its responsibility for the files of the second largest court system in the country.

"$1.4 million dollars in the face shows you are trying buy the office," Martinez said.

When she was elected four years ago as the first Latino to hold the job, Martinez pledged to modernize an office that was under federal investigation under Dorothy Brown's long tenure. She said more than 70 million files have been digitized during her term.

Martinez also said she opened a call center to answer questions about cases and the courts in any language needed. IN addition, she has opened domestic violence and expungement centers.

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While Martinez touts her accomplishments, she has also had to defend herself against a Chicago Tribune investigation that found dozens of clerk employees receiving raises and promotions after contributing to her campaign. Martinez denies the allegations.

"No, that has never been me. That will never be me," she said.

"You don't want to put people in a position where their job is contingent on helping you on the political side," said Spryopoulos.

Spryopoulos promises not to take political contributions from employees, and said she hopes to better manage the office with employees' help.

"We want to go in there and meet all the employees, talk to them how we can help the do their jobs and what ideas they have," she said.

Spryopoulos and Martinez are the only two Democrats in the race. There is also one Republican and one Libertarian running, but the Libertarian cannot be on the ballot until November.