Tony takes on the Greens | Bleader

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Tony takes on the Greens

Posted By on 10.23.08 at 11:25 AM

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There's an interesting twist in the race for Cook County state's attorney. Republican candidate Tony Peraica has started attacking Green Party candidate Thomas O'Brien.

Concerned that O'Brien will pull independent-minded voters from his side, Peraica's blasting O'Brien as a "shill for the Democrats" who was put up by Anita Alvarez and her boss, state's attorney Dick Devine.

His proof? O'Brien's a lifelong Democrat, he's only raised "$385 in campaign funds" -- supposedly proving that he's not a serious candidate -- he lives "three blocks away from Dick Devine," and he's "good friends" with Alvarez.

"I'm hoping the voters of Cook County will not be bamboozled by this so-called campaign," says Peraica. "Only in Cook County."

Peraica's charges are denied by Alvarez, Green Party officials, and O'Brien. According to O'Brien, he's not friends with Alvarez, much less a good one. He hardly even knows her -- "I've actually met her fewer times than I've met Tony." He and Devine live in the same north-side neighborhood, but so what? "I'm in Dick Devine's home parish -- we went to the same high school [Loyola Academy] and that's supposed to make me loyal to him? I don't really know him. He graduated years before I did. I've only had one real conversation with him. When I decided to run, I went to his office at 26th and California and paid a courtesy call. They made me wait 25 minutes or so and then I went in and told him I'm running for state's attorney for the Green Party. He said, 'What party?' I said, 'The Greens." He said, 'Oh.'"

As for having only raised $385, O'Brien says, "It's a little more than that -- but not much. It's hard to raise money when you're a third-party candidate. I don't have a lot of money, and I don't have a lot of friends with a lot of money." And, yes, he's voted Democratic all his adult life, but then, "I live in Cook County. If you want to vote for the judges, if you want to vote for the major candidates, you have to vote Democratic."

He says he decided to run on the Green ticket because it was a good way to advance his favorite causes, like the abolition of the death penalty and the need for the state's attorney's office to do better outreach to low-income black and Hispanic communities.

"I ran into Tony [Peraica] at a political event," says Phil Huckelberry, chair of the Green Party. "I told him that Tom is a legitimate candidate."

Nonetheless, Peraica says he'll keep on making the accusation, no matter how much everyone says it's not true, even at the upcoming Channel 7 television debate between all three candidates. The irony is that by hammering at O'Brien, Peraica's giving the Greens and O'Brien attention they might not otherwise get. "I suppose you can say any news is good news," says O'Brien. "But it's upsetting to have someone going around making things up about you."

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