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 Saturday, Aug. 30, the 242nd day of 2014. There are 123 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: A large pair of elk, captured in Iowa, were exhibited in Market Square today.
1889 — 125 years ago: The Rock Island Arsenal dam was being constructed under the supervision of Charles Frances, of Lowell, Mass.
1914 — 100 years ago: Mrs. Frank Mixer, of Rock Island, was the winner of the final preliminary for the women's handicap golf cup at Rock Island arsenal links.
1939 — 75 years ago: Sixteen hundred persons — many from war-fearful Europe — arrived in New York aboard the German liner Bremen. For two days on the trip, passengers were cut off from the world with both incoming and outgoing radio messages banned.
1964 — 50 years ago: Police reported five youths have been involved in the theft of about seven cars in recent weeks. Three of the youths were arrested Saturday afternoon, one was in custody as the result of a previous arrest, and the fifth is expected to be arrested today.
1989 — 25 years ago: The Rock Island/Milan School Board is asking the city to tear down Franklin School and allow the school district to pay back the estimated $100,00 cost during 10 years.

(More History)