Democrat Joe Berrios won the hotly contested Cook County Assessor race Tuesday, defeating Independent Forrest Claypool.
Berrios currently serves on the Cook County Board of Review, which hears disputes over property tax assessments. The office he is running for would be in charge of setting property tax values for the entire county.
But the Chicago Tribune, the Sun-Times and Chicago Magazine, among others, have repeatedly questioned influence-peddling at Berrios' office. Tax review lawyers, including those from the firms of House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton have received hundreds of millions of dollars in property tax cuts from the Board of Review.
After losing the Cook County Board President's primary to then-incumbent John Stroger, Claypool planned to return to the private sector. But Claypool said he was angered about how Berrios was able to "slip in with 39 percent of the vote . . . carried over the finish line by ward bosses."
With 75 percent of precincts reporting, Berrios had about 46 percent of the vote, Claypool had 32 percent. The Tribune explains:
Claypool led in the suburbs, but Republican Sharon Strobeck-Eckersall was doing well enough as an alternative to Berrios to erode Claypool's vote count. About 64 percent of the overall vote had been counted.
NBC Chicago's Carol Marin said Berrios's victory was also a win for House Speaker Madigan.