Dorothy Brown to challenge Emanuel in mayoral race

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Despite a federal investigation, Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown plans to run for mayor.

The U.S. Attorney's office is investigating allegations of bribery in Brown's office.

Former Federal Prosecutor Jeff Cramer said Brown's mayoral run will probably amp up the investigation.

"If you look at the Feds as a sleeping bear, you walk by them quietly. You don't poke them," Cramer said. "What she has decided to do is take a stick and poke the bear."

Brown, who won her fifth term as Circuit Court Clerk in 2016, denies any wrongdoing.

In her mayoral run, she joins the growing field of candidates who plan to challenge Mayor Rahm Emanuel and is the fourth African-American challenger.

Walter Burnett, an Emanuel supporter, said he believes the number of African-American candidates is a sign that Emanuel has lost support in that community.

"If we are a benefactor of any people running against him hallelujah, but he's going to be hard to beat, he's going to have campaign coffers out of this world," Burnett said.

Brown's financial support may come from the loyal group of voters who have supported her for re-election to her current office.

"Her base of support is really the church and grassroots support," said political consultant Delmarie Cobb. "She is everywhere all the time 24/7, 365 days a year."

In response to his latest challenger, Mayor Emanuel's campaign spokesman called the race a "political improv show that continues to audition more cast members."

Paul Vallas, Garry McCarthy, Neal Sales-Griffin, Troy LaRaviere and Ja'Mal Green have all said they are going to run.

Brown declined to comment on her run Thursday but plans to officially announce her campaign Sunday.
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