Longtime Illinois politician Thomas Hynes dies at age 80

CHICAGO (AP) — Former Illinois state Senate president and Democratic National Committee member Thomas Hynes, who was a powerhouse in Chicago politics for four decades, has died. He was 80.

Cheever Griffin, Hynes’ son-in-law, confirmed that Hynes died Saturday at Northwestern Memorial Hospital from complications of Parkinson’s Disease.

Hynes’ political career spanned from 1970, when he was elected to the state Senate, to 2014, when he stepped down from his position on the DNC. Hynes spent 31 years as a Democratic committeeman for one of Chicago’s South Side wards.

Hynes also was Illinois campaign chair for President Bill Clinton’s re-election campaign in 1996. And he served as Cook County assessor from 1978 to 1997.


Known as a cautious politician, Hynes made an uncharacteristically bold move in 1987 when he decided to run for Chicago mayor against incumbent Democrat Harold Washington under the banner of the newly-created Chicago First Party. It did not go well, and he dropped out two days before the election.

Two sons have followed him in the political world. Dan Hynes is a deputy governor to Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker. Matt Hynes is a former senior adviser to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

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