What difference does a name make? Apparently a lot, especially in a race for an obscure office.
Harvard graduate Abdelnasser Rashid, 30, was soundly beaten by attorney Tammy Wendt in the March 17 Democratic primary in the race to become the Democratic nominee for a seat on the Cook County Board of Review, a three-person panel that hears property tax appeals.
Two years ago, Rashid, whose parents immigrated to the United States from a rural Palestinian village 53 years ago, had narrowly lost a county board race to Republican Sean Morrison.
In the Board or Review race this year, Rashid was the endorsed candidate of the Cook County Democratic Party and was also endorsed by both the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times.
Yet Rashid was soundly beaten, getting 45.24 percent of the vote to 54.76 percent for Wendt in the district which includes the western third of Cook County and runs from Tinley Park to Barrington.
Wendt, who was part of the defense team in the murder trial of former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke, will face incumbent Republican Dan Patlak in the November general election.
Rashid, who works as chief policy officer for Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi, had the support of about a dozen passionate and hardworking volunteers in Riverside and Brookfield.
Their work had an impact, as Rashid had his strongest showing in those two towns winning 55 percent of the vote in Riverside and 54 percent in Brookfield. Rashid didn’t do nearly as well in North Riverside, capturing only 45 percent of the vote.
While pleased with Rashid’s strong performance in Riverside and Brookfield Rashid’s local supporters were surprised and disappointed by his loss.
“I think that when people go to the polls, I think we are still dealing with some level of racism and xenophobia,” said Mitzi Norton, a leader of the Indivisible Brookfield group who was an active volunteer for the Rashid campaign for about six months.
Villages prefer Conway for state’s attorney
In another Cook County race our local area also backed the loser, with Brookfield, Riverside and North Riverside supporting challenger Bill Conway over incumbent Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx.
But Foxx, powered by strong support from African-American voters, easily won with nearly 49 percent of the vote countywide in a four-way race, finishing far ahead of Conway (30 percent). Donna More finished third with nearly 17 percent and former Chicago alderman Bob Fioretti received 5 percent.
But Conway easily swept North Riverside, Brookfield, and Riverside winning 46 percent of the vote in North Riverside, 44 percent in Brookfield and 43 percent in Riverside.
Foxx received 32 percent of the vote in Brookfield, 30 percent in North Riverside, and only 28 percent in Riverside.
Riversider falls in judicial race
Riverside resident John O’Meara was soundly defeated in his second race for judge. O’Meara, who narrowly lost a judicial subcircuit race in the 2018 primary, was running countywide this time, trying to fill a vacancy on the Cook County Circuit Court.
Despite having the endorsement of the Chicago Tribune, O’Meara was badly beaten by prosecutor Laura Ayala-Gonzalez, who had the important endorsement of the Cook County Democratic Party.
Countywide, Ayala-Gonzalez, a resident of Western Springs, won 62 percent of the vote in a three-person race. O’Meara, who works as an administrative law judge for the Illinois Department of Labor and served as a Cook County Judge from 2016 to 2018, finished second with 22 percent of the vote.
O’Meara fared better in his hometown. He received 40 percent of the vote in Riverside compared to 49 percent for Ayala-Gonzalez.
Still, Ayala-Gonzalez won every precinct in Riverside except for the tiny Lyons Township Precinct 1, which includes the southern tip of Riverside’s First Division. There, he won decisively, 23 votes to 11.