Clout-rich Illinois House member ahead by a nose

With some votes untallied, Toni Berrios leads Will Guzzardi by less than 1 percent

March 21, 2012

(WBEZ/Charlie Billups)
Guzzardi, right, thanks supporters Tuesday night.

One of the most powerful families in Illinois politics is getting a run for its money in a Democratic primary on Chicago’s Northwest Side.

Vying for a sixth term in the Illinois House, Rep. Maria Antonia “Toni” Berrios (39th District) is ahead of challenger Will Guzzardi by 72 votes — less than 1 percent. The election was Tuesday, but ballots in one of the district’s 84 precincts were not counted that night.

Guzzardi, a former Huffington Post staffer, said he would go Wednesday morning to the city’s Board of Election Commissioners to keep an eye on the tally.

“Whatever the final totals may be, something really incredible has happened here,” said Guzzardi, calling his opposition the party machine. “This community has made a really powerful statement. And I’m excited to work with the board of elections to make sure every vote gets counted and then we’ll see what the final totals may be.”

The Berrios campaign has received a lot of help from Democratic leaders, including her father, Joe. He’s the party’s Cook County chair and the county assessor.

Berrios spokesman Manuel Galvan called it wrong for the Guzzardi campaign to suggest she depends on her father’s help.

“She finds it interesting that a young man who calls himself a progressive thinks a woman can’t stand on her own,” Galvan said. “If he wanted to run against the machine, he should have run against Joe.”

Galvan said the Berrios campaign also would be on hand for the rest of the vote count.

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