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Boykin announces bid to replace Dorothy Brown

Circuit court clerk decides against reelection, opening path to field of challengers

August 21st, 2019 11:15 AM

Richard Boykin announced earlier this month that he would run for Cook County circuit court clerk. | File

By Michael Romain

Staff Reporter

Former 1st District Cook County Commissioner has gone from mulling a run against Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx earlier this month to announcing on Thursday his plan to succeed Dorothy Brown as Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County.

Brown announced last Wednesday that she would not seek reelection as circuit court clerk, a position that she's held since 2000. During much of that time, her office has been embroiled in controversies and multiple investigations by county, state and federal authorities.

Despite the raft of allegations, including claims that her office routinely exchanged jobs for money and other favors, Brown has consistently denied wrongdoing.

On Wednesday, Brown told the Chicago Tribune that she "had no doubts I would be able to win reelection, without a shadow of a doubt," adding that it's "good to be able to leave on your own terms. I feel really good about it."

Boykin served a term as commissioner from 2014 to 2018. Last year, he narrowly lost his bid for reelection to current 1st District Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson.

On Aug. 2, the former commissioner and practicing attorney who was once Congressman Danny K. Davis's chief of staff, said that he was mulling a run to replace Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx.

"Public corruption is rampant throughout Cook County and the state's attorney has been absent when it comes to going after it," Boykin said at the time. He said that he would announce his decision in September.

But on Aug. 15, Boykin pivoted dramatically, announcing his decision to run for circuit court clerk instead — a day after Brown announced that she would be stepping down.

"So many of the urgent issues we face in Chicago and Cook County have a single common denominator – access to justice," Boykin said in a statement. "And when it comes to ensuring equal access to justice, there are few offices with more of a direct impact than the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County."

In the statement, Boykin touted his experience as a member of the Grants Review Committee for the Justice Advisory Council of Cook County, "where we invested in programs and organizations providing access to justice in communities where that access is most urgently needed."

Boykin joins a crowded field of candidates looking to preside over an office that has a $120 million budget and around 1,400 full-time employees who are responsible for administering a range of legal records and processing fines, among other duties, according to the Tribune.

Other candidates include "Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioner Mariyana Spyropoulos, state Sen. Iris Martinez, attorney Jacob Meister and Cook County Board of Review commissioner Michael Cabonargi," NBC 5 reports. Cabonargi was endorsed by the Cook County Democratic Party on Aug. 16.

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Email: michael@oakpark.com