Cook County’s circuit judges to pick chief judge

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CHICAGO (AP) _ A vote for Cook County’s next chief judge has spilled out of the halls of justice into the political arena.

Only judges are allowed to vote Thursday for chief judge. However, Chicago Alderman Carrie Austin says some in the Democratic Party leadership have thrown their support behind Judge Thomas Allen, who is challenging incumbent Chief Judge Timothy Evans.

County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s office is denying reports she was behind the effort to oust Evans. She’s expressed unhappiness with is performance. The two have clashed before politically. She defeated him in a 1991 aldermanic race.

In addition to Allen, a former alderman, Evans is being challenged by Judge Sandra Ramos, a former prosecutor and defense lawyer.

Cook County’s 241 circuit court judges will cast secret ballots at the Daley Center.