Kim Foxx's opponents in Cook County State's Attorney race call for change during ABC7 debate

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx's challengers made their case to voters that it's time for change during a debate Friday night.

Foxx had a target on her back, named Jussie Smollett.

"What we saw in that case is somebody got a free pass because he was able to pay money and he was politically connected, and that's not right," said candidate Bill Conway.

"My opponents want to talk about the Jussie Smollett case because they don't want to talk about the record of reform and public safety for the last three years," Foxx countered.

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"Jussie is one example, but it's a big example because when you screw up a big case the public doesn't trust you to handle any other case," said candidate Donna More.

But Conway also found himself under fire, as his campaign is mainly funded by $8 million from his father, who runs the Carlyle Group.

"The Carlyle Group is a firm that has heavily invested in military weaponry across the globe, including weaponry that's used by police departments here," Foxx said.

Foxx drew fire for raising the threshold for retail theft cases from $300 to $1,000 for them to be prosecuted as felonies.

"Illinois has one of the lowest felony thresholds for retail theft in the country," Foxx said. "Forty-seven states have a higher threshold."

"If we want to dismiss a whole segment of people that are committing crimes in our city and in our county, then go down the Springfield and make the changes there," said Bob Fioretti, candidate.

Foxx was also pressed on why her office is not pursuing public corruption cases, and responded her office is pursuing those cases right now.

With Foxx flexing political muscle with the backing of the Democratic machine, her opponents face an uphill battle.

That's what's wrong with having the machine in Cook County. Because you don't get the best representation as a citizen and a voter, you just get the representation that the machine tells you, and it's time we break the stranglehold," Donna More said. "The primary is now just 18 days away. And with the state's attorney's race being one of the more high profile races, there is a lot at stake between now and the March 17th primary."

With just over two weeks left before the Illinois primary this race, which has already taken on a negative tone, could very well see more of it between now and March 17.

Cook County's Republican candidates faced off in a debate Thursday night.

ABC7 PRESENTS THE COOK COUNTY STATE'S ATTORNEY DEMOCRAT CANDIDATE DEBATE

PART 1: Democratic candidates discuss the Jussie Smollett case, conflicts of interest
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Democratic candidates for Cook County State's Attorney weigh in on Kim Foxx's handling of the Jussie Smollett case, and how to avoid conflicts of interest in office.



PART 2: The candidates discuss retail theft, negative campaigning

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Democratic candidates for Cook County State's Attorney address how they'd prosecute retail thefts as well as their stances on negative campaigning.


PART 3: The candidates on wrongful convictions, gaining trust from Latino community
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Democratic candidates for Cook County State's Attorney discuss claims of wrongful convictions involving retired Chicago detective Reynaldo Guevara and gaining trust from the Latino



PART 4: The candidates for Cook County State's Attorney on political corruption and bail reform
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Democratic candidates discuss the role of the Cook County State's Attorney Office in political corruption cases, as well as bail reform measures.



PART 5: Democratic candidates on diversity, gun crime prosecution, and big campaign donors
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Democratic candidates for Cook County State's Attorney talk about improving diversity in the office, gun crime prosecution and the impact of "big money" campaign donations.



PART 6: Democratic candidates present their closing arguments at end of debate
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Democratic candidates for Cook County State's Attorney make closing arguments during a debate presented by ABC 7 on Friday.

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