'He Ran For Judge, Lost, Changed Parties, Took Irish Name, Won Cook County Race'

Chris Menahan
Nov. 19, 2018

Finally, someone has come up with a model to win in blue states!

From the Chicago Sun-Times:
Besides voting out a sitting judge on Tuesday for the first time since 1990, Cook County voters also elected a Democrat to be a judge for the northwest suburban 13th "subcircuit" for the first time since the county established subcircuits in 1992.

The new judge? Shannon P. O'Malley.

The name might not be familiar because Judge O'Malley was going by his old name, Phillip Spiwak, when he unsuccessfully ran, as a Republican, for a judicial seat in Will County in 2010.
[...]He won by nearly 2,300 votes over Republican Daniel Fitzgerald despite failing to get the recommendations of bar associations after declining to submit information about his qualifications.
Clearly voters don't care!
[...]In 2010, Albert Klumpp did a study that found judicial candidates with Irish- and female-sounding names in Cook County had an advantage, particularly in primaries or retention votes. But Klumpp says it's more likely that O'Malley won not because of switching names but because he switched parties.

"I found that 90 percent of the vote in these November partisan races for judgeships is determined purely by party identification," Klumpp says.

Candidates in Cook County changing their names to Irish-sounding names happened often enough that the Illinois legislature passed a law requiring that a candidate's old name also be listed on the ballot if the name change was made within three years before the election.
This reminds me of the Senate race in Texas, were Hispanic Rafael Edward "Ted" Cruz ran as a white guy while Irishman Robert Francis "Beto" O'Rourke ran as a Hispanic.

It would be interesting to know what percentage of people who voted for Beto thought they were sticking it to the "white male patriarchy" by voting for the "Hispanic" rather than the "white guy" Ted Cruz.

Regardless, we need more free spirits to follow in Mr. O'Malley's wake! It's only fair considering most establishment Republicans are closer to Democrats than Trumpians!

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