To a roomful of Dorothy Brown supporters, it wasn't a question of if she becomes mayor—but when.
Throughout a media conference Brown called Sunday to announce her candidacy in the 2019 race, her enthusiastic supporters stood and cheered. First, as the embattled Cook County circuit court clerk walked into the Boulevard room of the Chicago Hilton & Towers as blues music blared through the speakers, and then later, as Brown and others spoke from a podium about everything she brings to the table.
"She would be the first black woman as the mayor of Chicago," said Emma Lozano, founder of the Mexican advocacy organization La Familia Latina Unida/Sin Fronteras. "She's making history."
Whenever attendees said "if she becomes mayor," the 125 supporters packed into the room corrected them, saying, "when
she becomes mayor."
Brown exuded confidence throughout the press conference and was in high spirits about taking on Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Asked about her unsuccessful run against Mayor Richard M. Daley in 2007, when she received only 20 percent of the the vote, Brown said after nearly two decades in office, this time it will be different.
“At that time I don’t think the citizens of Chicago really knew the real Dorothy Brown,” she said.
Her spirits dampened when she was asked about the federal investigation surrounding her for allegedly accepting a $15,000 bribe
, disguised as a business loan, from a man seeking a job in her office.
An employee of Brown has also alleged that $10,000 was the going rate to get a job in the office. Others said that giving Brown gifts could earn them promotions, the Tribune
has reported. Brown has not been charged with any wrongdoing.
Brown brushed off the allegations, saying, "I respect law enforcement, and anytime someone comes and has a complaint, it is their duty to look into it whether it's true or false, as these are false."
At the event, envelopes for credit card information and pledge donations were handed to everyone in attendance and placed on white linen-clad tables scattered around the room.
Brown has raised about $8,000 in campaign cash, according to the Tribune
Other supporters praised her electoral success and long run as court clerk.
“She wins, and she wins without the support of the Democratic party,” said LGBTQ activist Rick Garcia. “She was elected because we stood with her and she stands with us.”