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Carl Hawkinson served as Knox County State's Attorney from 1976 to 1983. He left the office of States Attorney when elected State Representative as a Republican representing the 94th District from 1983 to 1987, after two terms as State Representative, Hawkinson successfully ran for Senate where he served as Illinois State Senator representing the 47th District from 1987 to 2003. In 2000 he made an unsuccessful run for the Illinois State Supreme Court, winning the Republican party primary but losing in the general election to Thomas Kilbride. Carl Hawkinson served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Public Safety for the State of Illinois from 2003 to 2005. While holding this position he was the top Republican in the Blagojevich administration. Hawkinson was educated as an undergraduate at North Park University in Chicago, and received his graduate degree from Harvard.
Lieutenant Governor campaign
In 2002 Carl Hawkinson ran for Lieutenant Governor of Illinois as the running mate of Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan. Both men won in the Republican primary where Hawkinson received 47% of the vote defeating State Representative William O'Connor, Jack McInerney, and Charles Owens, but lost to Rod Blagojevich and Pat Quinn in the general election.
- 2002 Race for Governor / Lieutenant Governor
- 2000 Race for Illinois Supreme Court; 3rd District
- Tom Kilbride (D), 52%
- Carl Hawkinson (R), 48%