Democratic candidates clash in heated debate for Cook County State's Attorney seat

With less than six weeks until the Illinois primary election, the race for Cook County State’s Attorney is heating up.

On Thursday night, the Democratic candidates vying for Kim Foxx's seat went head-to-head.

The topics up for debate included the SAFE-T Act, retail theft, carjackings, equity in the criminal justice system, and prosecuting juveniles.

Last April, Kim Foxx announced she would not seek re-election after serving two terms.

The Democrats up to replace Foxx are public policy professor and former prosecutor Clayton Harris III and retired Illinois Appellate Court Judge Eileen O'Neill Burke. Burke was also a Cook County prosecutor before she worked as a criminal defense attorney.

One of the topics the candidates disagreed on during the debate was whether they would follow Foxx's lead by keeping the felony threshold for cases of retail theft at $1,000 – something she raised from the state's felony threshold of $300.

"If there’s a break-in, then it doesn’t matter if it’s $1,000, $300 or $4. If there’s a break-in, then we can charge it as a burglary and that’s a felony," said Harris. "We’re going to charge as a blanket, $1,000 as a felony, and below as a misdemeanor, or however the other facts go. We’re going to charge people appropriately."

"You can clear out several aisles in Walgreens before you get to a $1,000 threshold. The ramifications of this policy are Walgreens, CVS, Target, Walmart have closed all over the city and the county in the neighborhoods which they are needed the most in, so I do not agree with that," said Burke.

The candidate who comes out on top after next month's primary election is expected to face off in November against former Chicago Alderman Bob Fioretti, who is running as a Republican, and local attorney Andrew Charles Kopinski, who is on the Libertarian ticket.

The Illinois Primary Election is set for Tuesday, March 19.