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 Wednesday, July 30, the 211th day of 2014. There are 154 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: After Sept. 1, every small box of matches will be required to have a 3 cent duty Lincoln stamp on it, and every large box will be one cent for every 100 matches.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Rock Island residents had contributed a total of $1,293 to the American Red Cross for the Johnstown flood relief fund.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Capt. Clark Means, new darkhorse twirler for the ARGUS staff, was in great form in his initial contest as a mound laborer. The result was that THE ARGUS trimmed the Union 6-5.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Hunter and Humprey Moody, young Decatur, Ill, brothers, lack only a few hours of establishing a new world light plane endurance record.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Gates of the 110th annual Mercer County Fair swing open tonight at Aledo for a full week of day and night activity. More that $36,000 will be paid in premiums and race purses.
1989 -- 25 years ago: The baseball field carved out of the cornfield near Dyersville, Iowa, continues to keep dreams alive for hundreds of visitors. Tourists from 26 state and France have visited Dan Lansing's farm to see the baseball diamond seen in the hit movie "Field of Dreams."

(More History)