After a campaign fueled by disagreements over the Illinois SAFE-T Act and statewide COVID-19 mitigation efforts, Attorney General Kwame Raoul on Tuesday declared victory over Downstate attorney Thomas DeVore in his bid for reelection.
Raoul, a Chicago Democrat and the son of Haitian immigrants, was asking Illinois voters for a second term as the state’s top legal officer. DeVore, a Republican from Sorento, and Libertarian Daniel K. Robin, a retired attorney from Schaumburg, were looking to block Raoul’s hopes for re-election.
“Thank you, Illinois! I’m humbled & honored that you’ve reelected me Attorney General,” Raoul said in a tweet. “I will always defend your rights, crack down on gun violence, protect children from online dangers, and fight like to hell to make sure Illinois remains a safe haven for women!”
The incumbent was leading late Tuesday night with 1,502,155, or 55% to DeVore’s 1,510,498 or nearly 43% and Robin’s 78,068 or 2.2% with 75% of the vote counted, according to unofficial vote totals.
During the campaign, Raoul and DeVore sparred over various topics, including Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Before he ran for statewide office, DeVore’s name recognition was boosted statewide when he challenged Pritzker’s COVID-19 mitigations in court, including moves seeking to block the governor’s school mask mandate.
Raoul was sworn in as attorney general in 2019 after spending 14 years in the Illinois Senate.
In an interview with the Illinois Associated Press Media Editors, DeVore said he presented a “fair question” when he challenged Pritzker’s disaster declarations during the pandemic — and the governor’s school mask mandate.
“I think one of the things we’ve learned over the course of the last couple of years is that there was a fair question to be asked about the extent of the governor’s ability to issue some of those mandates,” DeVore said during the interview. “You know, you have some on one side of the conversation say he could absolutely do it. You had some that said he absolutely couldn’t. But I think we would all agree as intellectual people there was a fair question.”
Raoul agreed during the interview that it was a fair question, but that DeVore abused the court’s resources with his multiple attempts to block Pritzker’s mitigation efforts
“I will agree with Mr. DeVore. It was a fair question to ask,” Raoul said. “But how many times you ask it is a fair question too. It was asked and answered multiple times in multiple lawsuits. And the courts’ resources should not have been abused as they were.”
Raoul and DeVore also disagreed over the 2021 SAFE-T Act, which is set to end cash bail in Illinois next year.
DeVore, who has opposed the law as being unconstitutional said Raoul should have challenged the measure in court.
“We now have over 50 state’s attorneys in the state of Illinois who are now doing, for all intents and purposes, the attorney general’s job in bringing causes of action on numerous counts that it’s unconstitutional,” DeVore said. “It is in fact unconstitutional.”
Raoul acknowledged state legislators need to clarify the law during their upcoming veto session, but has said he supports the overall principle of eliminating cash bail.
“My obligation as a lawyer in general is towards justice,” Raoul said. “And so if the evidence is such, or the law is such, that I would have to concede unconstitutionality, I would have a conversation with my client, and we’d have to do so. I don’t believe that’s the case here.”
Capitol News Illinois and The Associated Press contributed to this report.