Berios concedes to Kaegi in Cook County assessor's race
Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios saw no need to prolong the inevitable, conceding to Democratic primary challenger Fritz Kaegi after early election results saw him lagging far behind on March 20.
The Chicago Tribune reported Kaegi had 45 percent of the vote to Berrios’ 34 percent with 84 percent of the vote counted.
While Kaegi was seemingly coasting to a double-digit win, the night was not without controversy. Andrea Raila, the third candidate in the race, filed a legal challenge to the results after early voters were told a ballot cast for her would not be counted. Raila finished the night with 21 percent of the vote.
Berrios’ defeat was seen as a black-eye for the Cook County Democratic establishment, particularly longtime House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago), who has long been aligned with Berrios.
Throughout the campaign, Berrios was dogged by criticism of his handling of the tax assessment system, which critics charge often has poorer homeowners paying more in taxes than some of their far more affluent counterparts.
Kaegi, a mutual fund asset manager from Oak Park, made the assessments controversy a theme of his campaign.
“The old Machine style is no match for a campaign powered by the people of Cook County,” Kaegi said at a rally later in the night, according to the Chicago Tribune.
“We’re going to make tax assessments fair, equitable and transparent because that is what the people of Cook County deserve,” he added.
Over the years, Berrios had developed the reputation of a modern-day “Teflon Don,” surviving scandals that accused him of nepotism and a lack of ethics in his office.
Still, going into the primary election, he had the support of such powerful Democrats as Madigan, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.