Former Chicago mayor Jane Byrne was rebuffed by the Cook County Democratic Party in her bid for circuit court clerk. Party leaders endorsed Metropolitan Sanitary District Commissioner Aurelia Pucinski, a lawyer and daughter of Chicago Alderman Roman Pucinski.
Mayor Harold Washington, who defeated Byrne in two mayoral primary elections, but who has been making supportive comments about his former opponent, endorsed Pucinski and called for Democrats to unite behind the slated candidates. "Anybody who does not work for this ticket is not my friend," Washington said.
Byrne charged that she lost the endorsement because of political dealing. "The public will see right through this," she said. "They sat down in a room and slated a person with no administrative or executive experience and not half of my Democratic Party background." Byrne said she will run in the primary.
Republicans have picked as their candidate for clerk Edward R. Vrdolyak, a Washington foe and former Cook County Democratic chairman who recently converted to the party.
Aurelia Pucinski was picked last year as the Democrats' candidate for secretary of state on a ticket led by former senator Adlai E. Stevenson III. She was defeated in the primary by a follower of political extremist Lyndon H. LaRouche Jr.
"If the goal is to defeat Vrdolyak, then you don't slate a candidate who got beaten by a LaRouchite," Byrne said.