Toni Preckwinkle challenge knocks Dorothy Brown off ballot for Chicago mayor

Cook County's embattled Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown was knocked out of the race for Mayor Tuesday, following a challenge from political rival Toni Preckwinkle.  

Now, Brown says she's preparing to endorse her own candidate for City Hall. 

Dorothy Brown won re-election in November as Cook County's Circuit Court Clerk, despite a federal grand jury investigation of alleged job-selling in her office.  But now, Toni Preckwinkle has made sure Brown won't be moving up to mayor.

“Toni Preckwinkle and the Chicago machine obviously feared us and rightfully so, because we are a force to be reckoned with and we will continue to be a force to be reckoned with,” said Brown.

Brown’s mayoral campaign registered barely a blip in any public opinion surveys. She now vows to endorse someone else for mayor.

Political insiders say Brown's elimination helps Preckwinkle because Brown is another African-American woman who might take votes away from Preckwinkle next month.

However, a lawyer for Preckwinkle disputes that.

“Dorothy Brown wasn't a threat! It's about -- she did not follow, she did not follow the rules that all candidates for mayor of Chicago have to follow,” said Kerilyn Krafthefer, a lawyer for the Preckwinkle campaign.

The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners ruled that Brown failed to comply with a requirement that candidates for mayor submit at least 12,500 valid voter signatures.

“I will definitely lend my endorsement to a candidate who is committed to all of the people of Chicago,” said Brown. 

With early voting now likely to begin on Jan. 29, the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners says 14 candidates for mayor have qualified for the ballot.  

City Clerk Anna Valencia appears all but certain to win re-election. All three would-be challengers to her were knocked off the ballot.