Raines-Welch, wife of IL House Speaker, poised to win Cook County judgeship

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ShawnTe Raines-Welch, wife of powerful Illinois Speaker of the House Emanuel “Chris” Welch, appears poised to secure the Democratic nomination to become a Cook County judge, according to unofficial election reports.

And if historical trends hold in overwhelmingly Democratic Cook County, Raines-Welch has completed the most difficult step in her journey to secure a seat in November on the Cook County Circuit’s Fourth Judicial Subcircuit court.

As of Wednesday, June 29, Raines-Welch had collected 8,211 votes, according to results posted by the Cook County Clerk’s office. That total placed her in the lead so far in the four person race for the Fourth Subcircuit seat, to fill the vacancy of former Cook County Judge Patrick T. Rogers. The election results indicated 218 of 221 precincts had reported, or about 99% of the total vote.

According to the unofficial tallies, Chloe Pedersen was in second place with 6,404 votes, followed by Jerry Barrido and Patrick Campanelli.

No Republican candidate has been slated to seek election to the seat in the November general election.

Should Raines-Welch ultimately win election, she would become the first Black female to be elected to a seat on the Fourth Subcircuit bench.

However, her apparent election has not come without controversy.

Earlier this spring, Raines-Welch’s campaign returned a $10,000 campaign donation from a hospital and health care organization in Louisiana. An Illinois state law supported by her husband bars judges from receiving campaign contributions from out-of-state companies. Critics said the law was enacted specifically to thwart efforts by Republicans to run judicial campaigns in Illinois.

Further, according to a report published by the Chicago Sun-Times, Cedar Health, the company that donated, had benefited from a state law, also supported by Speaker Welch, to allow the company to purchase the former Westlake Hospital in Melrose Park.

Raines-Welch’s campaign said the donation was not solicited by anyone associated with her or her campaign, and was promptly returned.

Later this spring, the Illinois State Bar Association rated Raines-Welch as “not qualified” to hold a Cook County judgeship.

Raines-Welch has worked in law most recently in the firm of Ancel Glink, where she serves as partner. Her husband, Speaker Welch, also has maintained an affiliation with that firm. Welch had also served as partner in the firm.

However, after becoming Speaker, Welch decided to “step back” into an “Of Counsel” relationship with the firm. Typically, attorneys who are Of Counsel, are seen to be independent practitioners who desire to affiliate with a firm for professional reasons, without abandoning their outside practices.

Her leading opponent in the Fourth Subcircuit race, Chloe Pedersen, was rated by ISBA as “qualified.”

Pedersen, who also is a Black female, is a partner with the Chicago based firm of Fletcher & Sippel. She previously served as chief legal counsel for the Cook County Recorder’s Office, and has served as an assistant Illinois Attorney General, among other experience.

The election marks Raines-Welch’s second attempt to secure a judgeship since her husband became Speaker of the Illinois House.

In 2021, Raines-Welch submitted her name for consideration to be appointed as an associate judge in the Cook County Circuit Court.

She was passed over at that time.

The 4th Subcircuit includes 37 municipalities, including Bridgeview, Oak Lawn, Palos Heights, Lyons, and Willow Springs in the all of Lyons, Riverside and Stickney Townships, and portions of Leyden (western half), Palos (northeastern half), Proviso (west and South half), and Worth (northwest half) townships.

Proft,Feeds,News,Region: Chicago,City: Chicago

via Cook County Record https://ift.tt/8tEHhcr

June 29, 2022 at 03:09PM

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