Cook County, Illinois State’s Attorney Kim Foxx prevailed in Tuesday’s Democratic primary, where she faced several challengers who had focused on the controversy surrounding her handling of the Jussie Smollett case.
Foxx drew national attention over Smollett's case, which began with a hate crime investigation, turned into charges against Smollett for an alleged hoax, and ended with Foxx dismissing the case altogether, drawing the ire of local police.
“This win is about all of us. I’ve spent the last four years working to reform a system that is not representative of the communities it serves - I’m ready to continue this work,” Foxx said.
The three Democrats who challenged Foxx made her handling of the Jussie Smollett case -- which is now before a special prosecutor-- central to the campaign.
Foxx abruptly dropped charges last year against the “Empire” actor, who was accused of staging a racist, anti-gay attack. Questions loom about whether she acted improperly for speaking to a Smollett relative and aide to former first lady Michelle Obama before the charges were dismissed.
Foxx had said that she had recused herself from the case due to those contacts, but her office continued to handle it instead of turning it over to a special prosecutor. A spokesperson later explained that Foxx only meant that she was recusing herself in the “colloquial” sense, and that she herself would not be involved.
Text messages later revealed that Foxx still gave her opinion on the matter to a deputy – saying Smollett was overcharged -- in the weeks before Smollett’s charges were dropped.
A special prosecutor reinstated the charges, which Foxx called political.
Foxx fended off challenges from Bill Conway, Donna More, and Bob Fioretti, with Conway placing a distant second despite his family pouring millions into his campaign.
About $10.5 million of the roughly $11.5 million he’s raised, comes from his father William Conway, co-founder of Carlyle Group, a Washington, D.C.-based investment firm. By comparison, Foxx has raised nearly $3.5 million.
Cook County is heavily Democratic, so Tuesday’s nominee is likely the winner in November. In the GOP primary, Patrick O’Brien, a former assistant state’s attorney, defeated Christopher Pfannkuche, a prosecutor who has worked for several different agencies including the state’s attorney office.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.