Real Quick Politics: As 1st Dist. Commissioner’s Race Heats Up, Boykin Campaign Claims 20-Point Lead, Sercye Lands Another Major Endorsement

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 || By Michael Romain

As early voting in the 2014 Illinois Primary Elections gets underway, the down-ballot, but most intriguing, Democratic race to replace First District Cook County Commissioner Earlean Collins is heating up. Today, the Chicago Sun-Times‘ Early & Often blog reported that an internal poll conducted by the campaign of Richard Boykin, the attorney and former chief-of-staff for Congressman Danny K. Davis, showed Mr. Boykin with a 20-point lead. The Early & Often post states that the poll’s numbers “show an incredible surge by Boykin since January and a steep drop by former Chicago Ald. Ike Carothers.”

Even more interesting: “The poll also shows that despite Blake Sercye’s high-profile endorsements — including from Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Illinois Secretary Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle — he is in fourth place, behind Carothers and activist Brenda Smith. Ron Lawless is also running in the crowded March 18th primary.”

Just yesterday, Karecki broke the news that Sercye had picked up the endorsement of yet another Democratic big whig–Illinois Secretary of State Jessie White–in a move that Karecki claimed is a “snub” to Congressman Davis.

According to the posting, White said of Sercye:

“Blake Sercye is from our neighborhoods and has exhibited the personal resolve and perseverance to overcome so many of life’s obstacles. He is a natural leader and good man who will serve with integrity, honor and commitment.”

The Boykin poll, which surveyed 400 likely general election voters from February 25 to February 27, was conducted by Washington, D.C.-based GBA Strategies and shows Boykin in the lead with 34 percent of likely voters, “Carothers with 15, Smith with 13 and Sercye with 10. The survey, however, shows 23 percent undecided, meaning there is some room even with less than three weeks to go,” wrote Karecki, who neglected to mention Ronald Lawless’s 5 percent. She also didn’t mention the poll’s margin of error, nor its methods for collecting that data (i.e., where the survey was concentrated; whether it was conducted via land-line or wireless phones, or over the internet; etc.–all factors that may contribute to the survey’s overall accuracy).

On February 24, Richard Boykin’s Twitter feed announced that Capital Fax released a poll that morning that had his campaign up by just 5 points. Representatives from the Boykin campaign could not be reached for comment.

A confidential source within the Sercye campaign said that the Boykin poll doesn’t reflect the bounce that they expect from the recent succession of high-profile endorsements that have come their way.

“The survey was done before any of our main endorsements and before we even sent out a single mail piece. I think the momentum looks like its leaning our way more than his way and this looks like an effort on the part of Boykin to appeal to democratic voters,” the source said. “We’re not putting much weight into [the Boykin poll]. We know we have the momentum.”

Ronald Lawless dismissed the survey much more explicitly.

“It’s an internal poll, its his poll, he needs that poll because he know he’s falling,” Lawless said. “He needs to try to sale to people that he is the front-runner. We don’t know what kind of questions were asked, how leading they were. It’s a useless poll. It’s irrelevant.

“What he needs to address are more important issues other than polls like the homeowner exemption issue. He needs to do a poll asking voters what they would do about him having more than one homeowner exemption and whether or not they would vote for him then,” Lawless said.

“The real poll will be on March 18th–the people’s poll.”

A representative for the Carothers campaign said that he hadn’t looked at the poll closely enough to form a strong opinion. The campaign of Brenda Smith could not be reached for comment.


Regardless of the polling minutiae, however, the Boykin campaign seems buoyed by its own momentum, with the candidate holding press conferences throughout the first district at a rapid-fire rate. Last month, on February 20, the Boykin campaign held a press conference with various west suburban government, community and faith leaders to highlight the County’s Land Bank program and to “appropriate uses for vacant properties located on Chicago’s West Side and West suburban communities.”

And a week later, on the February 27, he issued a press release “calling for community justice centers to serve Proviso Township and Garfield Park communities.”

“In serving the First District as Cook County Commissioner, I will strongly advocate for the resources necessary to develop two community justice centers for the Proviso Township and Austin,” Boykin said. “Too often, Cook County residents lack access to vital legal resources. The creation of these centers would fill that void.” VFP

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