Kim Foxx re-election bid: Jussie Smollett, trust will be issues, challengers say

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Embattled Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx officially announced she is running for re-election Monday. She currently has four challengers who are vying for her job, as well as the Jussie Smollett case hanging over her head. The challengers are all raising a similar issue: trust.

"Four years ago, I ran for State's Attorney to change criminal justice in Cook County. I'm running again because we're only getting started," Foxx said in an ad launching her re-election bid.

Her challengers include Democrats Donna More and Bill Conway and Republicans Christopher Pfannkuche and Pat O'Brien. But her biggest nemesis could be someone not even in the race: Jussie Smollett. The dismissal of the case against the actor, who's accused of staging a racist homophobic attack, now has Foxx's office under investigation by a special prosecutor.

"I think it will be a huge issue and it's significant for this reason, she basically traded a public act, the discharge of a criminal case, for private political advantage and that breaks the public trust," said Pat O'Brien (R), candidate for Cook County State's Attorney. O'Brien is a former judge and Cook County Assistant State's Attorney.

Foxx has admitted she botched the Smollett case, something she didn't avoid in her ad.

"Truth is, I didn't handle it well. I own that. I'm making changes in my office to make sure we do better. That's what reform is about," Foxx said.

Her opponents say it's too late.

"I think what defines this race is the incompetence and inexperience of the current states attorney and that has resulted in lack of confidence and trust among our communities," said Christopher Pfannkuche (R), candidate for Cook County State's Attorney.

Pfannkuche is a former Cook County Assistant State's Attorney who lost to Foxx in the 2016 general election.

But it's not just Smollett that Foxx's challengers see as making her vulnerable.

"It would be nice to have some public corruption cases, we see them all coming out of the US Attorney's office right now, there's not even a joint investigation with the state," said Donna More (D), candidate for Cook County State's Attorney.

More is a former assistant state's attorney and federal prosecutor who lost to Foxx in the 2016 primary.

It is clear this race will be defined by one word: Trust.

"Because we need to have trust in our criminal justice system and it's clear as I travel Cook County that people in Cook County just don't trust Kim Foxx," said Bill Conway (D), candidate for Cook County State's Attorney.

Conway is a former Cook County Assistant State's Attorney and reserve Naval intelligence officer.

Foxx's campaign said they would be letting the ad speak for itself, which is why she was not available for an interview today. Foxx did get the endorsement from the Cook County Democratic Party back in August.
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