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Braiman Reflects on Unsuccessful Judge Race

Jeff Braiman remains Buffalo Grove's village president and a local attorney after he was defeated in his quest for a Lake County judge seat.

Less than a week ago, Jeff Braiman was prepared to close his law practice and step down as Buffalo Grove’s village president if voters elected him to a Lake County judgeship.

But voters chose his opponent, incumbent Judge Daniel Shanes, who won the election with about 53 percent of the vote. That means that Braiman will have to settle for the municipal gavel, which he’ll hold until his term ends in 2015. 

“I’m still the village president for two-and-a-half years. I still have a (law) practice. I’ll continue to do what I’ve been doing,” Braiman said Thursday.

He said he thinks his campaign finance strategy played a role in his defeat. Braiman self-funded his campaign, while Shanes received a number of large third-party donations.

“Obviously, finances had a lot to do with it. Also, I was running against a well-respected incumbent,” Braiman said. He said partisanship might have also played a role in the outcome. Judge candidates must to declare a political party, a requirement with which Braiman said he disagrees. 

He said campaigning door-to-door was “an exhausting process” and that he’s not planning to run again for a judgeship.

Still, he said, he has no regrets.

“Would I have done anything differently? No,” he said.

Two days after the election, Braiman was looking at the bright side. He noted that he received more early votes than his opponent did — Lake County election results show Braiman received 60 percent of the 5,451 votes cast before Election Day — and that he also led in the Buffalo Grove portion of the judicial district.

“These are the people who have seen me for the past 21 years,” he said. “They came out and supported me. It’s very gratifying.”

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