Huffpost Chicago

Will Guzzardi's State Rep Primary Challenge Of Toni Berrios Remains Too Close To Call

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Former HuffPost Chicago associate editor Will Guzzardi challenged incumbent Illinois state Rep. Maria
Former HuffPost Chicago associate editor Will Guzzardi challenged incumbent Illinois state Rep. Maria "Toni" Berrios in a tense, down-to-the-wire primary race.

Updated story

The 39th District Illinois House primary race between incumbent state Rep. Maria "Toni" Berrios and her newcomer challenger -- and former Huffington Post Chicago associate editor -- Will Guzzardi remained too close to call Wednesday evening.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Berrios appeared to have outpaced Guzzardi by a slim margin -- only 111 votes, the Chicago Board of Elections reports. Berrios received 50.7 percent of the district's primary vote, while Guzzardi got 49.3 percent.

Guzzardi pledged Wednesday afternoon that his campaign is "going to first make sure every vote gets counted – that absentee and provisional ballots get counted," Progress Illinois reports. Guzzardi did not rule out calling for a recount.

According to election data, Guzzardi held majorities in all of the district's seven wards except for two -- the 30th Ward in Irving Park and the 31st Ward in Hermosa. Guzzardi's showing was most strong -- 58 percent of the vote -- in the city's 35th Ward, which includes the heart of the city's Logan Square neighborhood.

The Associated Press reports that, in the final month before Tuesday's vote, Berrios received nearly $30,000 worth of campaign contributions from Democratic Majority, the political campaign fund of the powerful House Speaker Michael Madigan. Berrios also won the support, according to the Chicago Reader, of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, while Guzzardi was endorsed by the Chicago Tribune and a spate of teachers unions.

Guzzardi told WBEZ that on Wednesday, he planned to head to the city's Board of Election Commissioners to watch the city arrive at its final tally. The Berrios campaign also planned to be on hand for the remaining vote count.

"Whatever the final totals may be, something really incredible has happened here," Guzzardi told WBEZ. "This community has made a really powerful statement."

The statehouse race was a notable one as Berrios -- the daughter of Joe Berrios, Cook County Assessor and 31st Ward Democratic Committeeman -- has long been noted as coming from "a powerful Machine family," as NBC Chicago described it.

Progress Illinois previously reported that turnout in the district mirrored citywide trends in being "shockingly bad" and that Guzzardi's campaign manager Rebecca Reynolds accused election judges in the district of being "incredibly aggressive" and "vitriolic" to voters.

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