Turns out, in Illinois an Irish-sounding moniker will get you places. Just ask Phillip Spiwak who was unsuccessful running for judge so he changed his name.
The criminal defense and bankruptcy attorney previously ran for judge as a Republican candidate in 2010 in Will County, Illinois.
Unsuccessful, the Schaumburg lawyer changed his name in 2012.
"Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do."
-- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe— Shannon P. O'Malley (@FelonyDefense) November 28, 2017
Fast forward some five years, and the lawyer-formerly-known-as Spiwak now answers to Shannon O'Malley.
He is now running as a Democrat under his new name for a 2018 vacancy in Cook County’s judicial sub-circuit.
Academic Albert J. Klumpp previously studied historical records and published his findings. Indeed, the most successful candidates in Cook County have one thing in common: feminine Irish names.
Turns out Spiwak (55) isn't the first person to think of this trick either. In 1990, the New York Times published an article entitled, Illinois Journal: Where an Irish Name Wins Everyone's Vote.
The article explained: "This is the County of Cook, not Cork. And contrary to rumor, the election ballots in Illinois next month will not be printed in Gaelic. But an Irish name, and sometimes two, will appear on the ballot ... Over the years, more than one candidate for judge here has legally changed names to sound Irish. And for good reason: Voters in the Democratic primary here in 1984, for example, ousted four party-endorsed incumbent judges in favor of relatively obscure lawyers named Tully, Shelly, Kelly and Flanagan."
A 2007 Illinois state law attempted to bring an end to the frequency of candidates changing their names in order to gain an electoral advantage by requiring them to disclose their former names on the ballot alongside their new ones.
As O'Malley changed his name more than three years ago, this law does not apply to him.
Should he be elected, O'Malley's annual salary for the six years he will be a judge will be $198,075.
How will he fare? Will the luck of the Irish be on his side? Watch this space!