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Judge who dropped out of race appointed to seat

Updated: July 3, 2012 11:45AM

Cook County Judge Tom Carroll’s decision to drop out of a Southwest Side Democratic primary earlier this year helped clear a politically connected rival’s path to the bench.

Now — just four months after his withdrawal allowed the son of a top aide to former Mayor Richard M. Daley to run for judge unopposed — Carroll has landed on his feet, too.

The Illinois Supreme Court has appointed Carroll to fill a countywide seat.

Carroll, a former private attorney and defense attorney, was one of four candidates who in January dropped out of the race to fill a judicial vacancy he had already been temporarily appointed to fill.

The withdrawals left Dan Degnan, the son of former mayoral adviser Tim Degnan, to run uncontested in a March primary, even though Dan Degnan had been rated “not qualified” or “not recommended” by more than a dozen bar associations.

Since 2007, Degnan has worked as the executive director of the Cook County pension fund. He previously worked for five years as chief financial officer and chief deputy for the Cook County Treasurer, and he has only limited legal experience compared to the candidates who stood down.

But no Republican filed to run in November’s general election, meaning he is assured a judgeship.

House Speaker Michael Madigan in January refused to answer questions about whether he played any role in the decision of Carroll and the other candidates to drop out of the race. Reached Sunday, his spokesman Steve Brown again declined to comment, saying “I don’t know what this has to do with Mr. Madigan.”

Carroll’s appointment was made public May 17.

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