Illinois Sen. Daniel Biss’ decision to run for governor has resulted in a rash of candidates for the 17th District General Assembly seat held by Laura Fine, who hopes to replace Biss in the state Senate.
Two past presidents of the Evanston/Skokie School District 65 Board of Education are among the six in the wide-ranging district that includes all of the 6th Ward and western portions of the 7th and 5th wards of the city, plus parts of Wilmette, Morton Grove, Skokie, Northbrook, and Glenview.
Candance Chow, 48, from Evanston, and Mary Rita Luecke, 69, from Skokie, bring with them multi-term experience on the local school board that each hopes will provide a base of voters that will help them to stand out in the race, which includes five Democrats and one Republican.
The winner of the Democratic primary on March 20 will face Republican Peter Lee in the November general election.
The other Democratic candidates are Peter Dagher, 52, of Skokie; Alexandra Eidenberg, 34, of Wilmette; and Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, 48, of Glenview.
Chow, who holds an advanced degree from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management, enjoys the endorsement of the Chicago Tribune, which referred to her as the “most independent candidate” for the seat and “a contrarian voice in the group-think of Springfield.”
Luecke, a lawyer and the mother of two adult daughters, taught at the DePaul University College of Law for nearly 30 years. She says her top priority for the district will be “to fully and equitably fund our public schools.”
Dagher, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2002, has worked for former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois-Chicago, and holds a masters degree in business administration from George Mason University.
Eidenberg is president of a Skokie-based insurance company, The Insurance People. She is a graduate of Lane Tech High School in Chicago and holds bachelors and masters degrees from Columbia College in Chicago.
Gong-Gershowitz is a lawyer and the mother of three sons. She holds a journalism degree from Indiana University and a law degree from Loyola University Chicago School of Law.
The Democratic Party of Evanston failed to endorse a candidate in the race, because none of the candidates obtained the 66 percent of the vote at its endorsement meeting to meet the organization’s qualifications for endorsement.
Chow was the top vote-getter at the DPOE, with 49 percent of the vote, followed by Luecke with 33 percent. The other four candidates split the remaining 18 percent of the vote.