Chicago, IL

Who is Likely to Fill Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson's Cook County Board Seat?

Natalie Frank, Ph.D.

On Wednesday, an announcement was made regarding the application process for individuals who are interested in filling the remainder of Brandon Johnson's term on the County Board
Photo byDaniel X. O'Neil/flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson's Cook County Board seat has drawn the attention of several notable candidates as the selection process to fill the vacancy is underway. Let's take a closer look at the candidates and the process by which Johnson's replacement will be chosen.

Rev. Ira Acree, the influential figure from Greater St. John Bible Church in Austin, has thrown his hat into the ring to secure Johnson's position. Known for his community advocacy and leadership, Rev. Acree brings a strong voice and grassroots support to his candidacy.

The Rev. Marshall Hatch Jr., who heads the MAAFA Redemption Project in West Garfield Park, is another prominent contender for the Cook County Board seat. Rev. Hatch has been actively involved in community development and social justice initiatives, positioning himself as a candidate committed to addressing the needs of the constituents.

Zerlina Smith-Members, an Austin-based community activist, has emerged as a strong candidate. With a track record of community engagement and advocacy, Smith-Members brings a unique perspective and passion for addressing the pressing issues facing the community.

Tara Stamps, an employee of the Chicago Teacher's Union, has also expressed her candidacy for the Cook County Board seat. With her experience in education and her commitment to advocating for teachers and students, Stamps aims to bring a strong voice for education and labor rights to the position.

Claiborne Wade, a parent liaison at an Austin neighborhood public school and a board member of Catalyst charter schools, completes the lineup of notable candidates. Wade's firsthand experience working with parents and educational institutions positions her as a candidate focused on improving educational outcomes and fostering community engagement.

To select Johnson's replacement, a 10-person committee consisting of representatives elected from the district will be responsible. This district encompasses a significant portion of the West Side, Oak Park, and extends from West Town's Damen Avenue to the west suburban area of Bellwood. The committee members' votes carry different weights, which are determined by the number of votes Johnson received from their respective areas during the 2022 general election.

Illinois Senate President Don Harmon, a Democrat from Oak Park, will serve as the committee chair. On Wednesday, Harmon announced that individuals interested in the position can apply by submitting their resume and a brief cover letter expressing their interest and qualifications. The application can be sent via email to until May 31.

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