Boykin wins 1st District County Commissioner race

Sercye takes second, with Carothers in third


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By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

Richard Boykin enthusiastically declared victory Tuesday evening in the ballroom of Oak Park's Carleton Hotel. "Tonight we did more than win an election, we set forth to make a difference," Boykin told a large crowd of supporters as the Survivor song "Eye of the Tiger" blared on speakers.

Blake Sercye, the 27-year-old challenger, called Boykin late Tuesday evening to concede the hotly contested five-way race for 1st Cook County Commissioner. Boykin said, "We look forward to working with him (Sercye) going forward. We're going to work with everybody."

Boykin, now a practicing attorney but for many years the top aide to Cong. Danny Davis, thanked Davis after his introduction and said, "He's more than a friend … he's like a father to me."

Also on stage with Boykin were Cook County Recorder of Deeds Karen Yarbrough, a powerful force in Proviso Township; former Oak Park Village President David Pope and current Oak Park trustees Bob Tucker and Adam Salzman; and Chicago Ald. Nicholas Sposato.

Boykin thanked Pope for his support and the impact it had in Oak Park. "We didn't lose Oak Park too bad," said Boykin, "I got the feeling we didn't lose too bad because of you."

Pope was equally positive about Boykin.

"We have been needing for a long time representation at the county board that is committed to bringing together people in the city and people in the suburbs across districts who share common interests and common desires for the future of their communities, the future of their families and their children's opportunities," Pope said.

"I think Richard is the person who can deliver that."

The seat is currently held by Earlean Collins, who is retiring.

At 10:40 p.m., with 10 percent of precincts still to report, Boykin, a lawyer/lobbyist and former chief of staff to Davis (D-Chicago), had received 30.5 percent of the vote; Sercye, who had the backing of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Board President Toni Preckwinkle, 26 percent; former Chicago Ald. Isaac "Ike" Carothers won 22.5 percent on the strength of his West Side vote total; Brenda Smith, a former staffer for Carothers and a current staff member for Collins had 17 percent; and Lawless, an Oak Park resident and community activist, 4 percent.

Candidates focused much of their campaigning efforts on the suburban areas of Oak Park, River Forest, Proviso and surrounding communities.

Boykin faced fierce criticism during the election for claiming multiple homestead property tax exemptions and for his support for Republican Mark Kirk in the 2010 Illinois Senate race.

Lawless argued that Boykin, who said he was unaware of the tax exemptions for his multiple homes, was either "incompetent or dishonest" and that voters needed to clean house at the county board.

Carothers defended his record as an alderman and asked voters for forgiveness for his time spent in prison for bribery and tax evasion.

Sercye, who received major endorsements from the Democratic power structure as well as the Democratic Party of Oak Park and Oak Park Village President Anan Abu-Taleb, said he would not be bought and paid for by the Democratic Party.

View more election coverage

Hover over bars for individual totals. Graph reflects total votes from the city and suburbs.



Reader Comments

16 Comments - Add Your Comment

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Mr. Oak Park  

Posted: March 19th, 2014 4:46 PM

The best news about this election: Ike didn't win and Earlean didn't run

James from Oak Park  

Posted: March 19th, 2014 3:10 PM

To the point of these comments, there were still 1,192 folks from Oak Park and Proviso who voted for Ike Carothers, 246 of whom were in Oak Park. Amazing. But the results showed that the race really was not about Ike, but for a change in direction for the District. And that is a result I can accept.

Mr. Oak Park  

Posted: March 19th, 2014 2:19 PM

The final Oak Park results from David Orr's site: Sercye 59% Boykin 21% Smith 11% Carothers 5% Lawless 4%

Judith Alexander from Oak Park  

Posted: March 19th, 2014 1:56 PM

Toni Preckwinkle's endorsement certainly helped Sercye in Oak Park. Did Rahm Emanuel's endorsement hurt him in Chicago? Many Austin residents are very angry about local school closings, and other issues as well.

Real List  

Posted: March 19th, 2014 12:39 PM

75% of Carothers' votes came from Chicago. In the predominantly AA wards, Carothers received 1/3 of the vote! He would have won by a few % points had Chicago been the decider. Also, Brenda Smith (2nd worst choice, connected to do-nothing Earlean) received 60% of her votes from Chicago. You know, a few months ago, in this paper, it was asked what can OP do to partner with Austin. I ask, if this election is any indicator, what has Austin done to prove we should do anything?

Judith Erickson from Oak Park  

Posted: March 19th, 2014 12:04 PM

Thanks for the clarification, MP. I found the Chicago results which show Carothers getting the most votes -- unbelievable if it were not Chicago.


Posted: March 19th, 2014 11:54 AM

Real List, I've lived in Cook County long enough to remember when being a convicted felon (or hell, even being legally brain dead) wasn't enough to prevent a machine candidate from certain election. That enough voters turned out to vote for two seemingly decent candidates over the convicted felon is a solid victory in my book. Maybe the other criminals will stop their brazen campaigns if they know good govt citizens are still out here, paying attention, and voting.


Posted: March 19th, 2014 11:45 AM

Judith, those results are for suburban cook county only. The official totals include non-suburban cook county (i.e. Chicago) votes too.

Judith Erickson from Oak Park  

Posted: March 19th, 2014 11:12 AM

Cook County Election Results dated 3/19/14 at 1:12am shows Sercye ahead of Boykin, 3986 votes versus 3343 for Boykin. Here is an url to the Clerk's results.

Real List  

Posted: March 19th, 2014 10:16 AM

@MP-I get it 100%. 1 out of every 4 voters in our district think an ex felon and corrupt politician should represent us. Perhaps having some sane voters in OP and FP saved the rest of the district from themselves. Perhaps that is our middling role of the grand Democrat-map-drawing political vision. Maybe we do stay. Heck...maybe District 9 doesn't want us. PS - I am glad either Boykin or Sercye won.


Posted: March 19th, 2014 9:39 AM

Boy you people don't get it. With two reformers splitting the anti-machine vote, they BOTH beat the corrupt Carothers. This is GOOD news. I voted for Sercye, but I am glad Boykin won over Carothers.


Posted: March 19th, 2014 8:42 AM

The Democratic machine wins another one. 5,000 people voted for a felon, typical Cook County Illinois.

Bill Masterson from Oak Park  

Posted: March 18th, 2014 11:03 PM

Tis a shame. Blake would have been a breath of fresh air.

Real List  

Posted: March 18th, 2014 10:09 PM

The biggest story...25% of the voters in the 1st District were ignorant enough to vote for Carothers. 5 Candidates...4 of which more than qualified...and one out of every 4 voters chose the ex-con! This goes to show you how much incompetence and idiocy surrounds OP and FP. Can we get a succession vote on the next ballot? District 9 is calling. Hey Austin, 'Woods, and u-know-who - please keep your ex-cons out of our public office. Y

J.Martin Konecki  

Posted: March 18th, 2014 8:56 PM

I hope this lasts through the last of the precincts. Richard will make a fine commissioner from the 1st Dist. He definitely has worked harder than any candidate I've ever witnessed. Go Richard.

Oak park voter  

Posted: March 18th, 2014 7:50 PM

I thought this might happen with Blake and Richard splitting the reform vote. Hope this is not the final result

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