Despite gorgeous sunshine and record warmth, voters were few and far between at two polling places in Illinois’ 39th House district this morning. The 39th features a strong challenge from 24 year-old political newbie Will Guzzardi against 10-year incumbent Toni Berrios, son of Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios.
Only a handful of voters showed up at two Logan Square neighborhood polling places between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. this morning. A Berrios volunteer, who declined to give his name, described the turnout as “shockingly bad.” The volunteer wondered if most 39th District residents were even aware there was an election today – despite scattered campaign lawn signs across the Northwest Chicago district.
Two voters who did cast their ballot said they chose Guzzardi, because Berrios represents the “Chicago political machine,” in the words of Logan Square resident Graeme Miller. “[Guzzardi] seems like the more progressive option, although politically they might not differ that much,” Miller says. “Would [Berrios] be a state representative if her father wasn’t assessor? I would say ‘no.’”
Logan Square resident Robert Swafford had similar sentiments. “I went with Guzzardi,” Swafford says. “I had some issue with Berrios, and felt like she was the insider."
“I got so many robo calls for Berrios and Guzzardi had actual representatives calling me,” Swafford says. He added that he was turned off that multiple local leaders robo called on behalf of Berrios, including Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.
Thirty-four year-old Antonio Arroyo said he voted Berrios, because Berrios is Latino and could help provide “jobs and benefits” to other Latinos. This is a critical issue, Arroyo says, in the majority Latino, but gentrifying, Logan Square neighborhood.
“We’re looking at $1,000 and up in the Logan Square boulevard area for a one-bedroom apartment and not that many Hispanics are getting educated to get a good job,” Arroyo says.
Here are more of his thoughts: