Outgoing Cook County State's Attorney Dick Devine was there, along with DuPage County State's Attorney Joe Birkett and Will County State's Attorney Jim Glasgow, as Devine's second-in-command, Bob Milan, held his campaign kickoff last week.
So is Devine endorsing Milan as his successor as the county's top prosecutor, overseeing the $90 million office and its 1,300 employees?
No, said Devine. He said he's not about to designate an heir, not with his third-in-command, Anita Alvarez, and his friend and former finance chief, Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin, also jumping into the race.
"I think very highly of Bob," Devine said. "He's my first assistant. Anita Alvarez has also expressed some interest, Larry Suffredin, [Ald.] Tom Allen, a number of people out there. We'll just have to see how it sorts out. My major interest is to see whoever is elected will build on the things we have done, over the last 11 years, make decisions based on the evidence of the case and not what the political world looks like outside."
At least half the 800 prosecutors in the office were on hand for Milan's campaign kickoff Wednesday.
Milan has spent his 19 years as a lawyer in the office. Alvarez has been there 21 years.
Suffredin worked in the public defender's office before becoming a lobbyist and county commissioner. Allen also worked as an assistant public defender.
Ald. Howard Brookins (21st) has launched his campaign for the office, saying he wants to indict more police officers for brutality. That rankled Devine and Milan, who say they have prosecuted 100 officers. Brookins has hired Mike Noonan to manage his campaign.
Larry Rogers Jr., a commissioner on the county Board of Review who helped win a $100 million settlement for Scott and Janet Willis after six of their children were killed in a highway wreck caused by a truck driver who got his license with a bribe, is considering jumping in.
Terrence "T.J." Sheahan, son of former Cook County Sheriff Michael Sheahan -- with only eight years of practicing law but four years of prosecution experience -- might bring his powerful name and his father's unused $1 million political war chest into the race, too.
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart has also been encouraged to consider a run, as has County Commissioner Mike Quigley, who still has $500,000 in his war chest from the Cook County Board president race that he dropped out of.
Attorney Tommy Brewer, who has lost races for state's attorney and sheriff before, is also running.
Allen, Brookins, Suffredin and Brewer have all appeared before Democratic committeemen and will appear again along with Alvarez when the committeemen hold their formal slating meeting Sept. 6 -- more than two months earlier than usual thanks to the moved-up primary in this election cycle. If no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote from the committeemen representing Cook County's 50 wards and 30 townships, the party won't slate a candidate and it will be an open primary.
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