Democratic Cook County state's attorney candidates face off over finances

Sarah Schulte Image
Tuesday, March 5, 2024
Dem Cook County state's attorney candidates face off over finances
As the 2024 election approaches, Dem Cook County state's attorney candidates Eileen O'Neill Burke and Clayton Harris III face off over finances.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- There is new criticism Monday over campaign donations in the race for Cook County state's attorney.

The two Democratic candidates are facing off over finances.

Cook County state's attorney candidate Clayton Harris III and his supporters, including Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, are sounding the alarm about the amount of money his opponent, Eileen O'Neill Burke, has raised, and her source.

"When we see the million dollars put into her campaign by the extreme far right side, it lets you know her policies are attracting extremism," Harris said.

O'Neill Burke has raised almost $2.25 million, compared to Harris' $974,000.

Close to a million dollars of O'Neill Burke's funds rolled in during the past week, from wealthy donors in the business community, including people who have donated to Republican candidates locally and nationwide.

"You don't take money from these folks, with these kinda principles and values, unless you share these principles and values," Preckwinkle said.

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Because of the donations, and the fact that Preckwinkle said O'Neill Burke has consistently sided with prosecutors during her decade as an appellate court judge, Harris claims he is the only real Democrat in the race, despite both candidates supporting many of the same issues, including the new SAFE-T Act.

"My opponent is too extreme for this race; what we are looking at is someone who is not Democratic," Harris said.

A statement from the O'Neill Burke campaign responding to Harris' accusations, reads in part, "His suggestion that a woman with 30 years of experience as a prosecutor, defense attorney, and judge would be influenced by anyone is insulting and sexist."

"Eileen O'Neill Burke is a Democrat, and I, as a Democrat, who represents the whole state of Illinois, which includes people of all parties, I'm proud to support her," Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza said.

Mendoza has endorsed O'Neill Burke along with some labor unions and others in City Council, including Mayor Brandon Johnson's handpicked Finance Committee chairman, Alderwoman Pat Dowell.

Mendoza is not concerned about the source of O'Neil's Burke's campaign donations.

"I think what you are seeing reflected in her contributions are people in all walks of life in all stripes who are fed up with the city and county, that do not hold criminals accountable," Mendoza said.

Harris is not intimidated by the amount of money his opponent has raised. He and his supporters say the plan to win is outworking the money.