Risky votes lead to primary challenges in Illinois

Posted Online: March 18, 2014, 3:04 pm
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) Several state lawmakers risk losing their seats in Tuesday's primary election after casting tough votes, either for cutting state worker retirement benefits or legalizing gay marriage.

The targeted challenges are among the toughest primary races in a year in which all 118 House seats and a third of 59 Senate seats are up. Overall, there are 27 primary contests for House seats this month, but just two in the Senate.

While Democrats stand a good chance of holding onto their veto-proof supermajorities in both legislative chambers this year, the intra-party challenges and interest-group influence could alter the makeup of each caucus, with potentially fewer moderates on the ballot come November.

AFSCME, the state's largest employee union, and other organized labor groups teamed up in an effort to defeat several Democratic House members from Chicago who supported the pension overhaul.

Unions, fearful lawmakers next will turn to cutting municipal employee pensions, poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into the campaign of Jhatayn 'Jay' Travis, who is challenging state Rep. Christian Mitchell. Likewise, Rep. Toni Berrios of Chicago is being challenged for the second time by journalist Will Guzzardi, and Jaime Andrade, Jr. faces a four challengers, with unions bankrolling the campaign of attorney Nancy Schiavone.

Among Republicans, two of three House members who voted in favor of gay marriage last fall are facing challenges backed by conservative family groups. Rep. Ron Sandack of Downers Grove faces Waubonsee High School teacher Keith Matune and Rep. Ed Sullivan faces bus driver Bob Bednar, both of Mundelein.


Local events heading

  Today is Thursday, Oct. 2, the 275th day of 2014. There are 90 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The ladies have adopted the fashion of wearing representations of insects in the flowers on their bonnets. Some look very natural.
1889 -- 125 years ago: T.F. Cary, former Rock Island alderman, has accepted a position as salesman for a Chicago wallpaper house and plans to move to that city.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Work on the new telephone building on 18th Street between 6th and 7th avenues is progressing rapidly.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Rock Island's new theater at 3rd Avenue and 19th Street will have a name significant of its location. The "Rocket" is scheduled to open Thanksgiving Day.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Two of Rock Island's newest water towers were vandalized last night, including the one at 38th Street and 31st Avenue, where police took five Moline boys into custody about 9 p.m..
1989 -- 25 years ago: Some of us who live in the Quad-Cities take the Mississippi River for granted, or at least we used to. But the river is not taken for granted by our visitors. And most Quad-Citians are realizing the importance of the river to this area as increased emphasis is placed on tourism.

(More History)