Sanders Endorses Kim Foxx In Chicago Primary Challenge, Wants To Position Himself As Most Progressive Candidate On Criminal Justice

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Written by Ann Brown
Even though Chicago prosecutor Kim Foxx Sanders is embroiled in a national scandal, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has endorsed her. FILE – In this Dec. 2, 2015, file photo, Kim Foxx, then a candidate for Cook County state’s attorney, speaks at a news conference in Chicago. AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File). Former Vice President Joe Biden, left, embraces Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Feb. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Even though Chicago prosecutor Kim Foxx Sanders is embroiled in a national scandal over the way she handled the case involving “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders has announced his endorsement of her as she runs again for Cook County state’s attorney.

Special prosecutor Dan Webb recently indicted Smollett on changes that he staged a racist, anti-gay attack on himself last year. Foxx had previously dropped all charges against the actor.

Under Foxx’s tenure, incarceration rates dropped nearly 20 percent in Chicago.

Some see Sanders’ move to back Foxx as an effort to position himself as the most progressive candidate on criminal justice. 

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Besides Sanders, other progressives have been impressed with Foxx for not prosecuting some low-level drug offenses and instead, sending offenders to alternative treatment programs.

Sanders is also endorsing state’s attorney candidate Junaid Afeef of Kane County, Illinois, and district attorney candidates Jose Garza of Travis County, Texas and Audia Jones of Harris County, Texas.

In October, Sanders endorsed now-San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, who campaigned on getting rid of cash bail, Politico reported.

“The endorsements are in keeping with the Vermont senator’s attempts to position himself as the most progressive presidential candidate on criminal justice policy, with a platform that includes banning cash bail, legalizing marijuana, and permitting ‘safe injection sites’ where people can use illegal drugs under the supervision of medical professionals,” according to Politico.

Sanders said in a statement he was “proud to endorse these progressive leaders for the important offices of state and district attorney.

“Now is the moment to fundamentally transform our racist and broken criminal justice system by ending mass incarceration, the failed war on drugs and the criminalization of poverty, and that’s exactly what they’ll do,” Sanders said.

Foxx said she was honored to have Sanders’ endorsement.

“When I first ran four years ago on a platform that included a holistic approach to criminal justice reform, it was different than what previous prosecutors had ever attempted,” Foxx said in a statement. “Since in office, we’ve implemented bond and cannabis reform, we’re leading the country in vacating wrongful convictions and funneling more resources toward violent crimes to keep communities safe.”

Foxx has been a favorite of progressives, campaigning on transforming Cook County’s criminal justice system, declining to prosecute numerous low-level drug offenses and embracing alternative treatment programs.

Sanders’ rival, Elizabeth Warren, has also endorsed Foxx, along with Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Illinois Sens. Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin.