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Devine won't seek fourth term

Friday, August 10, 2007
Chicago Tribune
by Mickey Ciokajlo

Cook County State's Atty. Richard Devine will not seek re-election for a fourth term next year, his spokesman, John Gorman, said today. Devine has scheduled a news conference for 11:30 a.m.

Cook County State's Atty. Richard Devine has called a meeting of his top staff for Friday morning amid speculation he will announce he's not seeking re-election to a fourth term, sources said Thursday.

Devine, 64, has publicly said in recent weeks he was on the fence about whether to run in 2008, saying he had to meet with his family and that economic considerations were a factor in his decision.
The sources could not confirm Devine was calling it quits. But others familiar with the situation said Devine has been considering a lucrative jump to a law firm and he's concerned four more years in office would hamper his marketability.

One of the sources said the speculation was further fueled Thursday because Devine did not call such a staff meeting the last time he sought re-election.

If Devine does not run, more than a half-dozen local Democratic politicians are expected to jockey for the job.

Ald. Howard Brookins (21st) previously announced he would run for the post but the rest of the contenders were waiting on a decision from Devine, who is closely allied with Mayor Richard Daley.

Among the list of potential Democratic contenders are Sheriff Tom Dart, Ald. Thomas Allen (38th), County Commissioners Mike Quigley and Larry Suffredin, and Board of Review Commissioner Larry Rogers Jr.

Devine's two top aides in the office, Bob Milan and Anita Alvarez, are also interested if Devine retires.

On the Republican side, Cook County Commissioner Tony Peraica is expected to announce his candidacy next week. Peraica lost to Todd Stroger in last fall's election for County Board president.

Devine, the former first assistant to Daley when he was the state's attorney in the 1980s, was in private practice for more than a decade before he was elected to the office in 1996, upsetting Republican Jack O'Malley. He has had only nominal opposition in the two elections since.

Shortly after becoming mayor, Daley appointed Devine to be president of the Chicago Park District Board, where he served from 1989 to 1993.

While Devine would be the heavy favorite to win a fourth term, renewed allegations of police torture under former Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge in the 1970s and 1980s would likely be an issue in the campaign.

Critics who say Burge should have been prosecuted for the alleged torture committed by him and men under his watch have focused most of their ire at Daley and Devine for failing to adequately investigate the allegations during the 1980s.

Earlier this year, Devine personally led the prosecution of Brown's Chicken and Pasta killer Juan Luna, who was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison.

Just last week, Devine won a big pay raise for the prosecutors in his office following months of negotiations with Stroger.

Sources close to Devine had previously said he would make his decision about seeking a fourth term by the end of July, but that date came and went. Sources later said Devine wanted to get past the pay-raise issue before making a public announcement about his future.

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