In 2002, Illinois' political establishment decided to redraw the map, and created the 39th District on the West Side of Chicago. Toni Berrios, Chicago native and daughter of Cook County Democratic Party Chair Joe Berrios, won the new majority-Latino district handily, unopposed for nearly a decade.
That is, until Will Guzzardi, a long-shot candidate by every measure, showed up. In 2012, Guzzardi — an unknown, inexperienced 24-year-old from North Carolina — came within 125 votes of a win. The established<<establishment] was completely blindsided by the loss.
Guzzardi had sparked a grassroots movement to do things differently in Chicago — and as primary season fired up again for 2014, volunteers from across the district started flocking to his people-powered campaign HQ, confident that door to door organizing could bring down the machine.
The 39th is the story of how campaigns are won and lost in Illinois today — the strategists, the people, the tactics — and what happens when a community comes together to take back local politics.