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 Friday, Sept. 19, the 262nd day of 2014. There are 103 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: Charles M. Osborn of this city, a lawyer of prominence, who voted for Lincoln in 1860 is now out strong for McClellan and will take the stump for him.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The George Fleming company had begun its dried fruit packing in a branch plant on 16th Street, Rock Island, employing nearly a hundred workers.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The cornerstone of the new Eagles home was laid. Building committee members were John Kobeman, Fred Ehmke and Frank Wich.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Former Kaiser Wilhelm, in exile, is sad as the Nazis march with communists.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Ninety-two members of the acappella choir at Davenport's West High School today accepted an invitation to perform at the New York World's Fair on June 13, 1965.
1989 -- 25 years ago: A Rock Island woman is one of 50 winners of $10,000 in cash in the Illinois State Lottery's "Celebration "89" instant ticket game. Dawn Loeffler was the third winner to be chosen through daily drawings that began Aug. 28 and will run 50 consecutive days.

(More History)