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U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders endorses CTU organizer Graciela Guzman in Illinois Senate race



U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a fixture of progressive politics on Capitol Hill, introduced Tuesday his endorsement of Chicago Lecturers Union organizer Graciela Guzmán in a hotly contested Democratic main race for an Illinois Senate seat on the town’s North and Northwest sides.

“Graciela will stand as much as the political and financial institution, battle for housing justice, and function a fierce ally of the working class,” Sanders, of Vermont, stated in a press release. “From preventing for well being care as a human proper, to demanding that the rich pay their justifiable share, Graciela has the braveness to problem the established order. I hope that the individuals of Illinois’ twentieth district will be a part of me in supporting her.”

Sanders has been seen as a champion for progressive causes, attracting a extra leftist voting bloc on the nationwide stage in his runs for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016 and 2020, ending second every time.

Guzmán is locked in a four-way race wherein every candidate — together with the incumbent, state Sen. Natalie Toro — is making an attempt to persuade voters that they’re probably the most progressive candidate in a district that features working class communities like Belmont Cragin, fashionable areas like Logan Sq. and a sliver of tony Lincoln Park.

Mayor Brandon Johnson tapped Toro’s predecessor, Cristina Pacione-Zayas, as his deputy chief of employees after he defeated a extra conservative Democrat, Paul Vallas, in final yr’s mayoral election.

Guzmán, a former staffer for Pacione-Zayas within the Senate, is backed by the CTU and a lot of North and Northwest aspect progressives, together with U.S. Rep. Delia Ramirez, who was endorsed by Sanders throughout her run for Congress just a few years in the past, state Rep. Will Guzzardi and Aldermen Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez, thirty third, and Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, thirty fifth — each members of the Metropolis Council’s Democratic Socialists of America bloc. Guzman additionally has the endorsement of Cook dinner County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

Toro, who was an elementary college trainer, was appointed to the Senate seat final yr with the assist from Democratic Cook dinner County Circuit Courtroom Clerk Iris Martinez, a extra reasonable Democrat who supported Vallas for mayor.

On the finish of final yr, Toro had a little bit over $113,400 in her marketing campaign coffers. However since Jan. 1, the Senate Democrats’ marketing campaign operation run by Senate President Don Harmon of Oak Park has contributed near $1.3 million, in accordance with state data. Moreover, 5 Senate colleagues — Invoice Cunningham and Sara Feigenholtz, each of Chicago, Linda Holmes of Aurora, Julie Morrison of Lake Forest, and Laura Murphy of Des Plaines — contributed a complete $250,000 from their marketing campaign funds, the data present.

Guzmán, on the finish of 2023, had a little bit over $65,000 in her marketing campaign fund, however has since raised considerably extra, together with greater than $240,000 from lecturers unions, most of it from the CTU.

The 2 different candidates for the Senate seat are David Nayak, a physician who additionally manages a farming enterprise, and Geary Yonker, a neighborhood organizer who has labored on the enterprise aspect of the Chicago Reader and WBEZ-91.5 PM.

Guzmán is the one candidate for any native, state or federal workplace within the Illinois main whom Sanders has endorsed. In 2022, he endorsed Ramirez and U.S. Rep. Jonathan Jackson of their runs for Congress earlier than they ending up successful their seats.

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