The son of retiring State Senate President Emil Jones was chosen to replace his father on the November ballot Thursday night, all but assuring the political neophyte's election in the strongly Democratic 14th district.
The only hitch in Emil Jones III's appointment, according to the Sun-Times' Chris Fusco, was "an act of political protest" by State Rep. Monique Davis.
Davis (D-Chicago) nominated a candidate to run against the son of Senate President Emil Jones Jr. (D-Chicago) during the little-publicized meeting at the 34th Ward Regular Democratic Organization office, 507 W. 111th Street.
Davis' nominee, 73-year-old retired schoolteacher Dozier Thomas, didn't score any votes. But Davis used his candidacy to make a point that others should have been encouraged and given time to seek the South Side and south suburban seat the elder Jones is vacating after 25 years.
"The public, in my opinion, should be much more involved," said Davis, a fierce opponent of the Senate president despite living in his district. "You have a meeting, and anyone interested should come and present yourself to the public. Then there could be a final meeting."
Jones III earns nearly $60,000-a-year working for Gov. Blagojevich's Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
In an interview with CBS 2's Mike Flannery, Davis called Jones III "a naive 30-year-old man with limited knowledge, limited wisdom ..."
The SouthtownStar's Kristen McQueary explains how "political cowardice" greased the wheels for Jones III in a column-as-letter addressed to the elder Jones:
The votes are sewn, due to the political cowardice of [34th Ward Ald. Carrie] Austin and 21st Ward Ald. Howard Brookins, who together hold the greatest weighted vote in deciding your replacement. They are supporting your son.
You didn't support Brookins in the February Cook County state's attorney primary, but Brookins will graciously support Jones III nonetheless. What a nice man.
"I don't know of anybody else vying for the position. And I need to come to reconciliation with (Jones) and I don't think you can hold a grudge against his son," Brookins told me Wednesday.
Funny. Brookins describes himself as a self-made attorney who earned his stripes, but like most politicians, he doesn't want to use his leverage to infuse sunlight into the process.
Carol Marin brands the move "nepotitis," and places it in the context of other recent Illinois electoral hand-me-downs like Cook County Board President Todd Stroger and U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski.
Nepotitis is that rabid contagion of the Illinois political persuasion that infects whole families -- irrespective of race, color or creed. ... Nepotitis leaves nothing to chance.
Marin also says Jones has refused to answer any questions about his qualifications and well-paying state job:
[President Jones is] Furious that we have dared to ask questions about how young Emil, lacking a college degree, got an administrator-level state job paying almost $60,000 a year; how his stepson, John Sterling, has been the beneficiary of hundreds of thousands of dollars in state subcontracts at the same time his stepfather was fighting the mandatory disclosure of subcontractors; and how Jones himself has regularly taken out no-interest loans from his million-dollar-plus campaign fund, more than half a million of which he can pull out in personal income thanks to a grandfathered-in campaign provision.
What does Emil Jones III have to say about his candidacy for his dad's seat?
Nothing. He has not returned Sun-Times' phone calls or e-mails.