As the March 18th primary draws near, WGN News takes a look at the tough rematch is in the race for the Illinois House 39th District.
The 39th District includes parts of Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Belmont-Cragin and Portage Park. 55% of the residents are Latino and many hard working middle class families. There are also young hipsters, many of them new to Chicago, who may care little about family legacies like that of the incumbent Maria “Toni” Berrios.
Toni Berrios has held this position for 10 years and is the daughter of Cook County Assessor and Cook County Democratic chairman Joe Berrios. She is backed by another powerful Democrat, Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan.
Berrios is also endorsed by her father’s friend and ally, Cook County Board president Toni Preckwinkle.
Berrios insists she is her own person and not a puppet of the democratic machine.
Berrios, whose mother was a teacher, is pushing to get backpacks for 800 kids every year before school and money for a parent mentor program. She supports vouchers and charter schools, which is why she does not have the backing of the Chicago Teacher’s Union, the Illinois Federation of Teachers or the Illinois Education Association.
Her opponent Will Guzzardi does.
Guzzardi says Illinois has a broken political system and he wants to be a part of fixing it. He is a political outsider and has only live in Illinois for five years. But in 2012, he gave Toni Berrios a run for her money, losing by only 125 votes.
Guzzardi has run a grassroots campaign and this time he’s gotten more endorsements and more money but says if elected he’ll go up against the political machine. He knows that will be a challenge.
Expect another very close outcome on election night.