It Can Be Done: DFA-Backed Candidate Takes On Chicago Machine -- And Wins
March 19, 2014

They're not reflective of the C&L community as a whole, but if you only listened to some of our commenters, you wouldn't even bother to vote, let alone run for office yourself! "We can never win with the gerrymandered districts." "The machines are too powerful and we don't have enough money to compete." Yadda, yadda, yadda.

It's about getting out the vote, and here's a young man who just proved those naysayers all wrong -- against the Chicago machine candidate. Against a six-term incumbent, the daughter of the Cook County Dem chair. Who had a lot more money.

He was endorsed by the Howard Dean-founded Democracy For America, and he won.

NBC-5 reports, "Berrios had significantly more money to work with in her campaign, and Guzzardi relied on grassroots organizing abilities."

Which is why we are so proud to sponsor the DFA Night School training, right here on the site -- to give you the tools to run and win. If you know someone who's thinking of running, pass along this post:

Former journalist Will Guzzardi, 26, beat 6-term incumbent Maria “Toni” Berrios for legislative control of the 39th district. It was his second try running for the seat, according to projections by the Associated Press.

The district covers parts of Northwest Chicago, including Logan Square, Avondale, Portage Park and Humboldt Park.

Berrios, the daughter of Cook County Democratic Party chair, beat Guzzardi in 2012 by fewer than 150 votes.

This time around Guzzardi received a big endorsement from several unions because of Berrios' support of the pension overhaul.

“The result that we saw here tonight was the result of a movement, a movement that has a long history in this city, a movement that is striving for basic values in justice and fairness and this is a powerful movement in Chicago,” Guzzardi said. “It’s a movement that’s elected aldermen, and it’s elected state representatives, and it’s elected state senators and this is a movement that even once upon a time stood together and elected a mayor in the city of Chicago.”

University of Illinois political science professor Dick Simpson told that this race "indicates the weakening of the political machines" on the Northwest Side of the city.

Guzzardi, a Brown University graduate, lives in Logan Square and works in the college admissions office at the University of Chicago. He's told several publications that the name recognition he's gained from the 2012 run and a larger volunteer base would help turn the tide in his favor.

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