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Democratic Party Cash Floods NW Side Races as Campaign Enters Final Week

 Harish Patel, top left, Jaime Andrade, John D'Amico and Jac Charlier are all running to represent the Northwest Side in the Illinois House.
Harish Patel, top left, Jaime Andrade, John D'Amico and Jac Charlier are all running to represent the Northwest Side in the Illinois House.
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EDGEBROOK — As the Illinois primary election enters the final week, the campaign cash is rolling in for Northwest Side politicians backed by the state Democratic Party hoping to beat back challenges from independent candidates.

Two races to represent the Northwest Side in the Illinois House have drawn the most money from state Democratic leaders and donors, according to reports filed with the Illinois State Board of Elections.

To hear their challengers tell it, State Reps. John D'Amico, who is running for re-election in the 15th District, and Jaime Andrade, who is seeking another term in the 40th District, are machine politicians responsible for the state's unprecedented budget crisis that threatens the state's poorest residents.

Community activist Jac Charlier is seeking to deny D'Amico a sixth term in the Illinois General Assembly representing Edgebrook, Sauganash, Mayfair and the Northwest suburbs. Entrepreneur and community activist Harish Patel is asking voters to deny Andrade a second term representing Irving Park, Albany Park, Avondale, Logan Square and Portage Park.

Both D'Amico and Andrade's campaigns have attempted to beat back those charges — while flinging some of their own accusations — using tens of thousands of dollars in contributions from campaign committees controlled by Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.

RELATED: Are You Following Committeeman Races? You Should Be — Here's Why

In the 15th District race, committees controlled by Madigan gave D'Amico approximately $32,000, bolstering his already flush campaign account, according to records filed with the Illinois State Board of Elections.

In the 40th District race, Madigan's committees gave Andrade approximately $28,400 since Jan. 1, according to records filed with the Illinois State Board of Elections.

In both campaigns, D'Amico and Andrade have charged Patel and Charlier with supporting Gov. Bruce Rauner's educational policies and budget priorities. The vast majority of voters in the 15th and 40th district are Democrats, with whom the governor is deeply unpopular.

Patel and Charlier have called those assertions lies and "dishonest attack ads."

Neither D'Amico nor Andrade have appeared at any campaign forums held by neighborhood groups, saying they both needed to be in Springfield while the General Assembly was in session.

In other races, other candidates backed by the Democratic Party also find themselves in tough races.

39th Ward

In the 39th Ward, Robert Murphy — a leader of the anti-O'Hare noise group the Fair Allocation in Runways Coalition — is running against Patrick Molloy for the Democratic committeeman post.

Murphy unsuccessfully challenged Ald. Margaret Laurino (39th) in last year's aldermanic election. The ward includes Sauganash as well as parts of Albany Park, North Park and Mayfair.

Murphy started 2016 with just $51 on hand, according to records filed with state elections officials.

Molloy had $17,700 in the bank as of Jan. 1, according to state records. Molly also received a $250 contribution from State Rep. Robert Martwick (D-Jefferson Park) and $500 from former 41st Ward Ald. Mary O'Connor, the head of that ward's Democratic organization.

There are no candidates on the ballot for the 39th Ward Republican committeeman post.

41st Ward

In the 41st Ward, the race for Democratic committeeman is a three-way race after former Ald. Mary O'Connor declined to run for re-election. The 41st Ward includes Edison Park, Norwood Park, O’Hare and parts of Edgebrook.

The 41st Ward Democratic Organization and O'Connor endorsed suburban firefighter Tim Heneghan. He started 2016 with $12,200 on hand after raising $16,600 and spending $4,500 in 2015, according to records filed with the Illinois State Board of Elections.

Ald. Anthony Napolitano (41st), who defeated O'Connor in 2015 with the support of the Chicago Republican Party, endorsed Andrew "Andy" DeVito, a retired city employee and union official.

Heneghan has left open the possibility of challenging Napolitano in 2020 for his seat on the council.

DeVito raised $8,800 in 2015, including $1,500 from Napolitano. He spent $4,300 in 2015 and started the year with $4,700 on hand, according to records filed with the Illinois State Board of Elections.

Goran Davidovac, a member of the Taft High School Local School Council, is also running. He has no campaign committee, according to records filed with the Illinois State Board of Elections, which means he has not raised or spent any money on his campaign.

State Rep. Michael McAuliffe, who represents the 20th District in the Illinois House and is the current Republican committeeman, is running unopposed for re-election.

45th Ward

Ald. John Arena (45th) is unopposed in his bid for re-election as 45th Ward Democratic committeeman. The ward includes Jefferson Park as well as parts of Portage Park, Old Irving Park, Forest Glen and Gladstone Park.

Roisin M. Dohl is running unopposed for the position of Republican committeeman in the 45th Ward.

38th Ward

Ald. Nicholas Sposato (38th) is unopposed in his bid to continue serving as 38th Ward Democratic committeeman. Former 38th Ward Democratic Committeeman P.J. Cullerton stepped down in January after Sposato was the only candidate to file for the position.

In the race for 38th Ward Republican Committeeman, Peter Podgorski is unopposed.

36th Ward

In the 36th Ward, Sposato will be replaced by State Rep. Luis Arroyo, who represents the third district in the Illinois House, as the Democratic Committeeman. Arroyo is unopposed in the contest.

In the Republican committeeman contest, Sammy Tenuta is also unopposed.

The 36th Ward includes parts of Portage Park.

31st Ward

In the 31st Ward, Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios' bid for re-election as 31st Ward Democratic committeeman is unopposed.

But current 31st Ward Republican committeeman Edward Vazquez will be replaced by Bob Howington, who is also running unopposed.

The 31st Ward includes parts of Portage Park.

The election will take place March 15.

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