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Gutierrez weighs in for embattled Toni Berrios

U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) is helping the re-election campaign of state Rep. Maria Antonia “Toni” Berrios (D-Chicago) with a robocall in which he says Berrios is opposed by “those who want to silence Latino voices.”

Berrios faces a primary challenge in Tuesday’s election from Will Guzzardi, who nearly unseated her two years ago and now has the backing of several prominent Latino elected officials.

“I’m outraged that there are groups working to reduce the number of Latino public servants in the state legislature at a time Latino voices should be stronger,” Gutierrez says in the recorded message to voters in the Northwest Side’s 39th Illinois House District. “They want us to be weak … Stand up to those who want to silence Latino voices and support Toni Berrios.”

Some other Latino politicians clearly do not see the race in the same way as Gutierrez — with Guzzardi, who is white, winning endorsements from state Sen. Willie Delgado (D-Chicago) and Ald. Joe Moreno (1st).

In the call, Gutierrez also criticizes the challenger by name, saying some of the unnamed people who allegedly want to reduce the number of Latinos in Springfield “are helping Will Guzzardi, who doesn’t believe dangerous sex offenders should be required to register with local police.”

Guzzardi says this is not his campaign’s position, but Gutierrez’s comment in the robocall echoed the line of attack that also featured in a recent campaign mailer paid for by a state Democratic political fund.

A spokeswoman for Gutierrez did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Guzzardi said the Gutierrez robocall shows only that “established politicians are going to line up and support my opponent. We’ve known that from Day 1.” “A number of Latino leaders … and thousands of Latinos in this district are supporting this campaign,” Guzzardi added.At the end of the call, Gutierrez says the message was paid for by Berrios’ campaign committee. She is the daughter of Cook County Democratic Party Chairman and county Assessor Joe Berrios, who’s closely allied with Illinois House Speaker and state Democratic leader Michael Madigan.