O’Neill Burke keeps lead over Harris for state’s attorney

With five days to go until vote counting ceases in the Democratic primary race for state’s attorney, the trickle of ballot returns showed retired Appellate Judge Eileen O’Neill Burke sustaining her lead over university lecturer and former prosecutor Clayton Harris III.

Chicago and Cook County election officials tallied just 276 Democratic ballots in the race Thursday as the window for Harris to overtake O’Neill Burke appears to be closing. She leads by 1,623 votes, a margin that’s barely budged all week.

Though ballot returns since Election Day have favored Harris, there have not been enough votes for him thus far. Harris has not conceded, O’Neill Burke has not declared victory, and The Associated Press has not called the race.

On Wednesday, Harris’ campaign said it would wait until next Tuesday — the last day for mail ballots to be counted — to decide its next steps. If Harris continues to lag behind O’Neill Burke, his options would be to concede defeat or ask for a recount to double-check the accuracy of the final results, which is a costly and time-consuming option with uncertain results.

O’Neill Burke’s camp has remained confident she would prevail despite the fact the count has been lengthy. And both campaigns have expressed confidence the vote tabulation process was being conducted fairly, despite frustrations over some miscalculations throughout the process.

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