Heights’ Lawler edges out Barrett in 15th Subcircuit

  • Written by Tim Hadac

The Democratic primary battle for the bench in the Cook County Circuit Court’s 15th judicial subcircuit (Sterba vacancy) went to the wire Tuesday night and spilled into early Wednesday before the Cook County Clerk’s Office released a final count, at 1:13 a.m., showing that Chris Lawler of Palos Heights had edged Michael B. Barrett of Orland Park by a mere 14 votes.
With all 291 precincts reporting, Lawler finished with 4,168 votes (25.98 percent), with Barrett an eyelash away with 4,154 votes (25.89 percent).
Bringing up the rear in the race were Robbin Perkins of Matteson with 2,996 votes (18.67 percent), Sondra Denmark of Matteson with 2,785 votes (17.36 percent), and Mary Beth Duffy of Tinley Park with 1,942 votes (12.10 percent).
Lawler did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday night. He ran a highly visible campaign, with prominent blue and white yard signs across Palos Heights, in his race to best Barrett, who was the slated candidate of the Cook County Democratic Party.
Barrett, reached at his home in Orland Park on Tuesday night, that “win, lose or draw, this campaign has been a great experience. I’ve met some fantastic people, had tremendous support for which I’m grateful. It really strengthened my faith in our system.”
Barrett’s candidacy began long before the official announcement of his campaign when he began making the rounds of speaking appearances before area senior citizen and other community groups and fraternal organizations, discussing the law and his interest in the sport of hockey, as both a referee and president of a youth hockey organization.
Lawler already serves as a judge, appointed to his position last year by the Illinois Supreme Court upon the retirement of Judge David Sterba, also a Palos Heights resident. He is assigned to the 6th District Courthouse in Markham.
The race also was a test of political muscle, with both Barrett and Lawler lining up camps of local committeemen, mayors and others.
Lawler had the backing of Palos Heights Mayor Robert Straz, as well as the mayors of Crestwood, Midlothian, and Oak Forest.
Barrett was supported by Orland Park Mayor Daniel McLaughlin, Palos Hills Mayor Gerald R. Bennett, and Orland Hills Mayor Kyle Hastings.
Both men claimed the backing of the mayors of Alsip and Tinley Park.
Both men had lined up significant support from organized labor.

Doody vacancy
Less frenzied and noticed was the other race in the 15th judicial subcircuit, to fill the Doody vacancy.
Orland Park resident Patrick Kevin Coughlin fought his way to victory in a fairly tight race.
With all 291 precincts reporting, Coughlin finished with 6,694 votes (44 percent), besting Flossmoor resident and incumbent Judge Diana Embil, who trailed with 6,198 votes (40.74 percent), and Orland Park resident John S. Fotopoulos bringing up the rear with 2,321 tallies (15.26 percent).

WHATIZIT? for 3-20-14

  • Written by Jeff Vorva


Very good, boys and girls.2dr-PAGE-11-WHAZZSome of the people here at the Reporter/Regional have an opportunity to guess the photos of WHATIZIT? before it hits the streets and none of our sharpies were able to get that this “something that needs to be cleared” was a hurdle. Here, we had people guessing tables and desks. No one guessed a hurdle and this particular one was found at an indoor track meet.
But 100 percent of the WHATIZIT? players got it right.
Chicago Ridge’s Dana Oswald was the first out of the blocks to get it right.
Others who crossed the finish line without tripping were Palos Heights’ Crystine Busch, Oak Lawn’s Justin Antos and Jane Foley, Hickory Hills’ Jack and Griffin Burke Faddis, Worth’s Darrel Hardin, Jerry and Carol Janicki, Theresa and George Rebersky and Russ Martin, Willow Springs’ Harrison Debre and Evergreen Park’s Henrietta Mysliwiec and Vince Vizza.
There were no incorrect guesses (except for those within the walls of our building).
This week, we know it’s a brush, but what kind of brush? The clue is that guys named Buddy or Keith or Neil may have used this kind. Extra credit will go to those who can tell me who Buddy, Keith and Neil’s last names.
Send those guesses to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Don’t forget to put WHATIZIT? in the subject line and give us your name and hometown by Monday night.


McGuire tops Glennon for 3rd subcircuit judge

  • Written by Bob Rakow

The race for Cook County judge in the 3rd subcircuit wasn’t a close one Tuesday night as Terrance McGuire handily defeated Lauren Brougham Glennon.

With 74 of 76 precincts reporting, McGuire, a lawyer in private practice, had received 2,016 votes to 1,446 ballots cast for Glennon, according to unofficial results.
McGuire, the brother of state Rep. Kelly Burke, was endorsed by numerous labor unions and rated as “qualified” by Chicago’s leading bar associations.
McGuire’s practice is based in Beverly where he specializes in estate planning, probate and real estate transactions. He also serves as an administrative law judge for Cook County and the City of Chicago.
Glennon is a resident of Chicago’s Beverly community and works as prosecuting attorney for the city of Chicago.

The 3rd subcircuit includes Chicago’s Beverly and Mt. Greenwood communities as well as Evergreen Park, Hometown, Oak Lawn, Burbank, Blue Island, Alsip and Summit as well as parts of four Chicago wards.

Gorman set to face OLPD president

  • Written by Tim Hadac

Orland Park Republican Elizabeth “Liz” Doody GormanDR-COLOR-Page-1-1-col-for-refer-PAGE-5-2-col-liz-gLiz Gorman, campaigning in front of the Orland Park Sportsplex on Tuesday morning, knocked out Barbara Bellar for the Republican nod for 17th District Cook County Commissioner in Tuesday’s, election. Photo by Jeff Vorva. continued on her path to a fourth term as Cook County commissioner in the 17th District, besting Burr Ridge resident Barbara Bellar in Tuesday’s Illinois primary election.
With all 261 precincts counted, Gorman held a commanding lead with 13,180 votes (59.29 percent) versus Bellar’s tally of 9,051 votes (40.71 percent)
Gorman will square off in November against fellow Orland Park resident and Orland Fire Protection District president Jim Hickey, who ran unopposed on the Democratic side.
Bellar did not respond to email or phone requests for comment on Tuesday night, and Gorman, when asked, said she did not receive a concession call from Bellar.
Gorman, a self-described conservative “on fiscal and social issues,” is perhaps best known for her successful leadership role in opposing and later repealing the 133 percent tax hike pushed by then-County Board President Todd Stroger in 2008 and passed by the board’s Democratic majority.
Whether Gorman is actually a conservative was much of the focus of Bellar’s campaign. Bellar attempted to portray her as a RINO (Republican in Name Only), but most GOP primary voters did not appear to be buying it.
The Republican committeeman of Orland Township, Gorman consistently brushed off the criticism by countering that governing effectively in a two-party system includes give-and-take on both sides of the aisle, and that the best and most lasting solutions are often bipartisan ones.
If re-elected in November, Gorman plans to “continue the reform movement that is underway at Cook County. At no other time in recent memory has Cook County made the kinds of positive strides in reform than over the last four years, she said. She added that she plans to “remain vigilant in my effort to reform tax and fee measures wherever possible, to have Cook County continue to invest in innovative technology to reduce costs and improve efficiencies for county services and programs, and to stabilize the long-term fiscal health of the county.”
Beyond her own race, Gorman was a huge winner on Tuesday in terms of the gubernatorial race. She was an early and forceful supporter of winner Bruce Rauner, mustering a wide swath of suburban Republican organizations and individuals in recent months in what turned out to be a close race.
“Cook County [votes] put Rauner over the top,” Gorman told The Regional News via phone late Tuesday night, while on her way back to Orland Park from Rauner’s headquarters in the Loop.
She is expected to play a locally pivotal role in Rauner’s campaign to unseat Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn in the fall, a race that began at 1:22 a.m. Wednesday, when Rauner’s campaign sent out a blast email claiming that Quinn’s political operatives are “already tonight…starting to run a new attack ad against me. Can you believe it? They can’t even wait a day to start. So I can’t wait a day to ask. I’d planned a simple thank you note. But they’re running brand new negative general election ads as I type. Could you possibly donate $5, $25, $50, $100, $250, $500, or even $1,000 tonight?”
Gorman predicted a bruising battle ahead in the Rauner vs. Quinn match. “We’re going to do all we can to get [Rauner] to the finish line, and I think his message of change and of economic recovery will be well received by voters in Cook County and across the state.”

Brannigan vows to be ‘ruthless’ against unbeaten Lipinski

  • Written by Bob Rakow


Republican Sharon Brannigan spoke with confidenceDR-Page-5-2-col-lizRepublican Sharon Brannigan is not the only person who has Congressman Dan Lipinski in her sight. A voter at the Orland Park Sportsplex has a close eye on him Tuesday morning. Even though Lipinski was uncontested, Tuesday he made stops in Chicago and various suburbs to meet and greet. Photos by Jeff Vorva. Tuesday night about her chances of defeating U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski in November.
“I’m going to ruthless,” Brannigan said during a phone interview from Giordano’s in Orland Park where she spent the night with supporters.
“It looks like I got it. I ran a nice, clean race,” said Brannigan, who handily defeated her opponent, Diane Harris of Joliet, in the 3rd Congressional District primary race.
Brannigan, 52, a Palos Heights resident, had success throughout the 3rd District.
Unofficial vote totals show Brannigan with 17,725 votes to 10,506 ballots cast for Harris. Brannigan ran strong in both Chicago, where she garnered 70 percent of the vote, and the Cook County portion of the district, where she collected 63 percent of the vote. The election was somewhat closer in Will County, Harris’ base of support.
Lipinski ran unopposed in the Democratic primary but still made the rounds meeting and greeting people in Chicago and the suburbs. That included a stop at the Orland Park Sportsplex in the morning.
In a statement thanking supporters, Lipinski said: “So many families are still struggling to make ends meet and are frustrated at Washington’s partisan bickering. Tonight I am celebrating this victory, but tomorrow morning it is back to work to help improve the daily lives of people in the 3rd District and across our nation.”
Brannigan, a Palos Township trustee, said she will focus almost exclusively on ObamaCare and Lipinski’s support of the measure in an effort to defeat him.
“It has affected people across the board,” Brannigan said. “I want to see the repeal of it.”
She added that she’ll campaign in support of term limits—three terms for Congress, two terms for Senate—during a race in which she’ll be a decided underdog.
“This is a bipartisan issue,” she said.
Voters in Oak Lawn on Tuesday overwhelmingly supported a binding referendum that calls for term limits for members of the village board. Beginning in April 2015, board members will be limited to three consecutive terms.
Brannigan said she is a stronger Republican candidate than those faced by Lipinski in the past.
She said her background as a small business owner, elected official and recognition in both the suburban and Chicago portions of the district will be helpful. She added that she will rely heavily on social media to advance her campaign.
Lipinski has never faced a serious re-election challenge, having defeated seven candidates in five races. Lipinski succeeded his father, U.S. Rep. William O. Lipinski.
Brannigan and her husband, Mike, own Sherry’s Flower Shoppe in Orland Park, and she says that her perspective as a small-business owner will bring a fresh approach to Congress.
She chided the Obama Administration as one that “seeks to punish businesses across the nation” and has made it “increasingly difficult for middle class families to hang on to what they have and keep what they earn because of out-of-control spending, over taxation and over regulation.”
Brannigan was sharply critical of the federal Affordable Care Act during the primary race, which she says “was forced upon me and my family, and now it’s unfortunately the law of the land. This law is an intrusion into our personal and professional lives, has caused the reduction of healthcare services and has led to the increase in premiums – this is not what was promised to the American people,” she said.