For the first time in nearly a quarter-century, Illinois will elect a new secretary of state this fall, and former treasurer Alexi Giannoulias has secured the Democratic party’s nomination in the race, fending off Chicago’s city clerk , Anna Valencia, in a hotly contested race. battle, the Associated Press projects.
Giannoulias will now run in the November general election to replace Secretary of State Jesse White, who announced earlier this year that he would not seek a seventh term.
Giannoulias and Valencia were considered the favorites in the race, and the two candidates exchanged sharp points over alleged ethical irregularities in their respective political careers.
Chicago Ald. David Moore and activist Sidney Moore finished a distant third and fourth in the race.
Giannoulias, a financier who served as Illinois treasurer from 2007 to 2011, is no stranger to the Illinois political scene, having unsuccessfully run for the U.S. Senate in 2010 when he lost to former senator Mark Kirk.
More recently, Giannoulias has primarily focused his work in the private sector, but was appointed to the Chicago Public Library Board in 2018 before launching his campaign for Secretary of State.
Valencia is also a household name in Illinois political circles, having worked in former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration and serving as campaign manager for Sen. Dick Durbin during his 2014 re-election bid.
Valencia was named Chicago City Clerk in 2016 and won re-election in 2019. She also received White’s endorsement in the primary election.
The two candidates exchanged accusations of ethical lapses throughout the primary cycle. Giannoulias called attention to lobbying by Valencia’s husband on behalf of several companies, with the city clerk to revise ethics disclosure forms following reports from NBC 5 and other media about key omissions on these disclosures.
Meanwhile, Valencia criticized Giannoulias for his oversight of the state’s Bright Start education investment program, with risky Oppenheimer Funds investments coming under scrutiny during his tenure as treasurer.
She also criticized Giannoulias for the failure of Broadway Bank, the former treasurer having served as a senior loan officer at the bank his family founded.