In what may turn out to be a turning point in the race for 1st District Cook County Commissioner, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and other politicians gathered for a press conference downtown at the Union League of Chicago to endorse candidate Blake Sercye.
Chicago political heavies put their money on the line by pledging to raise or donate the maximum amount to Sercye’s campaign, around $104,000.
Joining them were Alderman Jason Ervin (28th ward), Alderman Joe Moreno (1st ward) and Oak Park Village President Anan Abu-Taleb.
Sercye, 27, is an associate at the law firm Jenner & Block LLP and sits on the Illinois Medical District Commission, a position to which he was reappointed in October of last year by Gov. Pat Quinn.
At the press conference, Board President Preckwinkle stated that both she and Mayor Emanuel are prepared to contribute $52,000 each (the maximum spending limit) to ensure that Sercye is elected over former 28th ward alderman Isaac “Ike” Carothers and Richard Boykin, Congressman Danny K. Davis’s former Chief-of-Staff. Both Carothers and Boykin have been considered front-runners in the race. The election takes place March 18.
“I believe in second chances,” insisted Preckwinkle, whose personal relationship with Carothers is strained. She said Carothers’s guilty plea on bribery and tax fraud charges should prevent him from running for office at the county level. Currently, Carothers is only prohibited from running at the citywide level.
Sercye is, “a wonderful alternative” to the former alderman, Preckwinkle said.
“Blake is the right guy, in the right time….to bring reform to county government,” said Emanuel, who noted that Sercye was one of the first hires made by his campaign team when he was running for mayor in 2010.
Oak Park President Anan Abu-Taleb went on the record to renounce his previous endorsement of Boykin, although the nature and degree of that prior endorsement is still in question.
When asked whether or not he would renounce his endorsement of Boykin, Abu-Taleb said, “Yes, I will.”
However, in response to a follow-up inquiry into whether or not he’d switched to Sercye, Abu Taleb said, “I didn’t really switch. I never committed to Boykin.”
This is despite the fact that, as of today, the Boykin campaign website lists Abu-Taleb among the elected officials who have endorsed him. Neither Mr. Abu-Taleb or the Boykin campaign could be reached for comment.
Former Oak Park Village President David Pope endorsed Boykin and wrote a guest editorial in Wednesday Journal on his behalf.