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He served in the Illinois State Legislature, representing the 25th District from 1931-1941. He later served from 1957 to 1960 as State's Attorney of Cook County.  He was a Democrat until 1955, when he was defeated by Richard J. Daley in the Democratic primary for mayor. In later campaigns for State's Attorney and a second bid for mayor against Daley in 1963 he ran as a Republican.