Timothy Evans

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Timothy Evans

b. June 1, 1943

Cook County, Chief Judge of Circuit Court (2001-)
Chicago, 4th Ward Alderman (1973-1991)
Chicago, 4th Ward Democratic Committeeman (1973-1992)

With a start in the city's Corporation Counsel office under Mayor Richard J. Daley, Timothy Evans was considered a Democratic machine-man, and thus appointed 4th Ward Alderman in 1973 to replace Claude Holman when he died in office. In office, he steadily carried water for the elder Daley, attracting opposition from the independents of Hyde Park, namely then-school teacher Toni Preckwinkle, who drove him to a runoff election in 1983.

With the election of Chicago's first African American mayor, Harold Washington, Evans switched to the independents, becoming one of the leading members of the Washington 21 in Council. In 1986, after special elections granted Washington's Council allies a majority in office, Washington stripped much of the Finance Committee's power from Ald. Edward Burke, creating a new Budget Committee, and placed Evans in the chairmanship.

Then, in 1987, following Washington's death in office, Evans was touted as the independents' candidate for Interim Mayor, a temporary position elected by City Council members. While Evans had some former Democratic organization members supporting him, Machine leaders Edward Burke and Richard Mell had their own candidate, Ald. Eugene Sawyer, and Evans went down to defeat in the Council vote.

While Evans and Sawyer worked together in Council, and Evans half-heartedly supported Evans in his 1989 campaign, the subsequent election of Mayor Richard M. Daley dismantled Evans' careful balance of power between being a former Democratic Organization man and a Washington's independent. Daley restored much of the Finance Committee's power to Edward Burke and Evans was no longer needed by the Mayor.

Without the Mayor's support, neither independents or organization leaders trusted him, and he went down to defeat in 1991 to quadrennial challenger, Toni Preckwinkle.

Parlaying his name recognition, Evans won election as a Cook County Circuit Judge in 1992, where he has been widely praised as an excellent jurist, eventually bringing him to election as Chief Judge by his judicial peers in 2001. There he has managed the administrative activity of the Circuit Court, free of the demands of regular voters. However, in Fall 2016, Evans was challenged for the Chief Judge spot by fellow former alderman Tom Allen. Amidst charges of politics in the cloakroom, Evans managed to defeat Allen for another four year term, by a vote of 129-103 by his fellow judges.


  • 1965, University of Illinois, B.A.
  • 1969, John Marshall Law School, J.D.

Important Political Events

  • 1973, Elected 4th Ward Alderman in special election, defeating Hattie Kay Williams replacing Claude Holman
  • 1973, Appointed 4th Ward Democratic Committeeman by Mayor Richard J. Daley, replacing Claude Holman
  • 1983, Reelected 4th Ward Alderman, defeating Toni Preckwinkle in runoff
  • 1987, Reelected 4th Ward Alderman, defeating Toni Preckwinkle
  • 1987, Defeated for Interim Mayor appointment by Eugene Sawyer
  • 1991, Defeated for 4th Ward Alderman by Toni Preckwinkle
  • 1992, Elected Circuit Court Judge
  • 1995, Appointed presiding judge of the Domestic Relations Division
  • 2000, Appointed presiding judge of the Law Division
  • 2001, Elected Chief Judge by fellow Cook County judges


Chicago Politics: Ward by Ward, David K. Fremon, 1989.