Martwick defeats Kessem in 19th District state representative race
by BRIAN NADIG
State Representative Robert Martwick (D-19) was re-elected Nov. 6, defeating his Republican challenger Ammie Kessem by 6,984 votes in the city and the suburbs, according to preliminary election results.
Martwick received 20,385 votes, or 60.3 percent, of the votes cast, and Kessem received 13,401 votes, or 39.7 percent.
“It was a good day at the polls. You could tell the numbers were overwhelmingly Democratic,” Martwick said. “It’s a huge blue wave in Illinois.”
Martwick said that the Democratic Party picked up enough new seats in the Illinois House to give it a “real supermajority,” unlike in the past when the party had to rely on votes from some conservative democratic legislators to override a governor’s veto.
“It’s good but bad because you have to deliver (for constituents),” he said of the challenge.
Martwick said that while he is tired from 14 months of campaigning, he does not have much time to rest because he will start collecting signatures for nominating petitions in August for the 2020 primary.
The election marked the first time Martwick, who was first elected to the legislature in 2012, faced a challenger on the ballot during the general election. In March, he defeated Chicago police officer Jeff La Porte in the Democratic primary.
Kessem, a Chicago police sergeant, said that she hopes her first-time candidacy will inspire others to run for political office and that her candidacy has shed light on Martwick’s voting record.
Kessem said that she hopes voters will pay more attention to his stances in the future. “People should be willing to hold politicians, officials accountable,” she said.
Both Martwick and Kessem said that property taxes were the top issue that they heard from voters on the campaign trail. Kessem has called for the legislature to implement a statewide 1-percent cap on property taxes, while Martwick has called for a graduated state income tax that would use income tax proceeds to provide property tax relief.
In a related matter, Kessem said that she has not made a final decision about whether to run for the 45th Ward aldermanic seat next year. She said that it would be difficult for even a “center-right Republican” like herself to win in the predominantly Democratic 45th Ward.
In the 45th Ward, Martwick received 8,990 votes compared to 5,261 votes for Kessem. In the 41st Ward, Kessem defeated Martwick, 1,012 to 936 votes.