By AARON GETTINGER
Curtis Tarver II won the March 20 Democratic Primary Election for the 25th District of the Illinois State House of Representatives, which spans from Kenwood and Hyde Park south along the lakefront to the Indiana border, taking a plurality of the vote ahead of seven other candidates.
He will run unopposed this fall in the general election to replace State Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, the Democratic Majority Leader, who has served in Springfield since 1979.
Tarver, 36, is a North Kenwood resident and graduate of Iowa State University and the University of Iowa College of Law. He worked at the Cook County Circuit Court and in private practice at Querrey & Harlow, Ltd., and Saulter Tarver, his current employer. Additionally, he has worked at the Mayor’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and on the board of the City Human Relations Commission. He is the co-owner of Vice District Brewing in South Loop, 1454 S. Michigan Ave., the site of his election-night party.
“I am honored that the voters of the 25th District have entrusted me with the privilege and responsibility of representing them in Springfield,” Tarver said in a statement. He went on to highlight his commitment to education, criminal justice reform and support for small businesses. “I promise the residents of this district that I will be ready to fight for all of those things—and more—when I take the oath of office in January 2019.”
At press time, with all but three precincts reporting, Tarver had received 4,487 votes, or 25.4 percent of the vote. Flynn Rush was in second with 2,898 votes and Grace Chan McKibben was in third with 2,651.
Long after his victory speech, which was closed to the press, Tarver’s victory party was full of celebrating supporters swilling generous quantities of the microbrewery’s beer. Ald. Greg Mitchell (7th), which includes part of South Shore, said, “I’m just excited that Curtis won. He ran a great race, and I think he’ll make a good state rep.”
In an interview with the Herald, Tarver commented that the primary race had been “a very worthwhile but a very grueling endeavor.” Nevertheless, he expressed eagerness to begin work, commenting that he looks forward to learning from Currie through the end of her term. “I’ve always told her that my goal was, if I was fortunate enough to get across the finish line first, to really sit at her knee and learn her philosophy,” he said. “As much time as she’ll give me I’d be happy to have.”
Again, Tarver reiterated his support for education, saying it was his primary motivation for entering the race. He brought up his 5-year-old daughter, Charleigh – soon to begin at Chicago Public Schools: “Having to navigate that process really strikes me to want to make sure that not only she’s provided for, but that every child is no matter their zip code.”
“I’m very, very proud,” said his beaming father, Curtis Tarver, Sr. “I know he’ll do well.”