Sheriff Dart: I plan to run for re-election in 2014, not aiming for statewide office
BY FRANK MAIN Staff Reporter email@example.com June 11, 2013 5:38PM
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart presents a lecture at Saint Xavier University in Chicago's Mt. Greenwood community in 2012. | Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 15, 2013 3:48PM
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said Tuesday that he plans to run for re-election in 2014 instead of aiming for a statewide office.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has been flirting with a 2014 gubernatorial bid, leaving political observers to wonder whether Dart might seek to replace her.
But Dart, 51, said he doesn’t think his job is done in the sheriff’s office.
“On the weekends, I am a full-time dad and don’t want to give that up,” added Dart, the father of five kids ages 3 to 11.
Dart dropped out of the race to replace Mayor Richard M. Daley in 2010 because of similar family concerns.
Dart had about $236,000 in his campaign coffers, according to a March state campaign disclosure report. He said he’ll raise additional money for his primary in March 2014.
“You prepare for war in times of peace,” he said.
Dart said some of his major accomplishments in office have been fighting human trafficking and dealing with the mentally ill population in the jail.
He said more than 2,200 of the nearly 10,000 inmates in the jail have been diagnosed with mental illness and are taking prescribed medications.
“We and the L.A. County jail are the largest mental health providers in the country,” Dart said.
Dart said he also is expanding his efforts to root out corruption in the suburbs. Dolton’s new mayor invited the sheriff’s office to act as an inspector general there and other towns have made similar requests, he said.
Dart, a former Cook County prosecutor and state senator, ran for state treasurer in 2002 but lost to Republican Judy Baar Topinka. He was first elected sheriff in 2006, succeeding Sheriff Michael Sheahan, who retired.
“My future is not determined by who is moving where,” Dart said of the political game of musical chairs that is now unfolding in Illinois. “I enjoy what I am doing.”