27th House Democratic primary may be winner-take-all affair with no Republican filed

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The Democratic primary for representative in the 27th House District may be a winner-take-all affair.

State Rep. Justin Slaughter, D-Chicago, is being challenged by Jasimone Ward, and no Republican has filed, which would make the winner of the June 28 contest the November victor by default, barring a new party, write-in or appointed GOP candidate entering the race.

The district includes portions of Chicago’s Southwest Side and all or portions of Alsip, Blue Island Crestwood, Midlothian, Orland Park and Palos Park. The redistricting of legislative boundaries took suburbs such as Calumet Park, Merrionette Park and Robbins out of the 27th.

Slaughter was appointed in early January 2017 following the retirement of Monique Davis, who had represented the 27th since 1987. He won election to a full term in 2018, and faced a write-in candidate in the March 2020 primary before winning reelection.

State Rep. Justin Slaughter, D-Chicago, is challenged in the Democratic primary in the 27th House District by Jasimone Ward. (Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune)

Jasimone Ward, of Alsip, is challenging state Rep. Justin Slaughter, D-Chicago, in the Democratic primary in the 27th House District. (Campaign photo)

Slaughter previously worked as director of programs for the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice and has a bachelor’s in political science from the University of Chicago and a master’s in public policy and administration from Northwestern University, according to a biography posted at his election committee website, repslaughter27.com.

He lives with his wife and their children in Chicago’s Brainerd Park neighborhood, sandwiched between the Auburn Gresham community to the north and Beverly to the south.

Slaughter was one of the chief sponsors of the Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity-Today, or SAFE-T, act, which was signed into law in January 2021.

The sweeping criminal justice reform measure is intended to make the state’s legal system more equitable, but critics say it hinders law enforcement and could result in higher levels of crime.

Among other things, the act sets new standards for use of force by police and requires police to render aid after using force. Officers who witness fellow officers using unauthorized or excessive force are required to intervene, and expands the use of body-worn cameras to all departments by 2025.

The act provides for a new process for decertifying abusive police officers, and would end the posting of cash bail by January of next year for nonviolent offenders.

Slaughter did not respond to requests from the Daily Southtown to discuss his reelection campaign.

Ward and her wife, Paula, live in Alsip, and Ward said priorities for her if elected include equitable access to health care and mental health treatment, along with creating programs aimed at steering youth away from criminal activity.

“There is so much more we can be doing,” she said.

Ward, 38, said she previously worked as an emergency medical technician in the Milwaukee area and now works as a mental health recovery coach.

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She said that she is completing her degree in multidisciplinary studies through the University of Minnesota.

Ward survived a challenge to her candidacy when a state electoral board ruled in April that she had sufficient signatures on her nominating petitions.

Ward said as she knocks on doors and asking for support, there is a degree of pessimism among voters.

“They look at me and ask ‘What can you do,?’” she said. “They are tired of the status quo and they want new blood.”

For the first quarter of this year, Slaughter’s election committee recorded receipts of $9,000, expenses of a bit more than $12,000 and cash available at the end of March of nearly $190,000, according to a state election board report.

Ward’s election committee for the first quarter showed receipts of just under $1,500 and expenses of $3,500, according to a state election board document. The committee reported that, at the end of March, it was in the hole by $2,000.

mnolan@tribpub.com

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June 21, 2022 at 08:19PM

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