CHICAGO (CBS) — Shifting gears in the wake of the Laquan McDonald police shooting scandal, Cook County Democrats have endorsed challenger Kim Foxx in the race for State’s Attorney against incumbent Anita Alvarez, who took more than a year to charge a Chicago police officer with McDonald’s murder.

It took only 20 minutes for the Cook County Democratic party’s central committee to endorse Foxx for State’s Attorney. She and fellow challenger Donna More were the only candidates to attend the central committee meeting on Thursday.

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Alvarez was a no-show, and has said voters don’t want the prosecutor’s office controlled by a party machine.

More had urged Democratic committeemen to remain neutral in the race, and move forward with an open primary,

“Do we slate Kim Foxx, who has negligible experience trying felony cases, taking them before juries, and winning convictions?” she said.

Foxx said she has the personal, prosecutorial, and management experience needed for the job.

“I’ve had the opportunity not only as a front line prosecutor, and as a supervisor managing dozens of attorneys over the course of five years, but I left that to work on policy as the chief of staff to the county board president,” she said.

Behind closed doors, party leaders took little time voting to endorse Foxx, thanks in large part to the support of her old boss, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

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Thursday’s meeting of top Cook County Democrats was scheduled last week, after party leaders voted to reconsider their decision last year to stay neutral in the race. Committeemen wanted to reconsider their neutral stance after Alvarez faced intense criticism, and calls for her ouster, after taking 400 days to charge Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke with murder in McDonald’s death, and what some have said are lax and false prosecutions by her office.

Given that Foxx was once Preckwinkle’s chief of staff, More said she was not surprised at all with the party’s endorsement of her rival.

“This is a great thing for my campaign, because I have been saying all along that Ms. Foxx is nothing more than the puppet of Toni Preckwinkle, and Preckwinkle wants control over the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office,” More said.

(Credit: Craig Dellimore)

(Credit: Craig Dellimore)

Preckwinkle called those claims “ridiculous.”

“Is that the accusation she’d make of every single person who was endorsed by the party?” she said. “Furthermore, she sought the endorsement in August, so if she had gotten the endorsement in August, would she have been a pawn of the party?”

Before the vote, Foxx told party leaders the State’s Attorney’s office needs to be transformed, not an embarrassment to the county.

“In the midst of all of the chaos and drama and heartache and sadness that our county has been going through in the last several weeks, I truly believe that this is a time for transformative change in Cook County,” Foxx said after the endorsement.

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Alvarez, meantime, has scheduled a campaign event for Thursday afternoon, where she’ll be joined by crime victims to discuss her career as a prosecutor.

Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)