* Mary Ann Ahern…
With four Democrats now formally filing to challenge state Sen. Ira Silverstein, the first to receive an endorsement from one of Silverstein’s Senate colleagues is Ram Villivalam. Democratic State Sen. Laura Murphy tells NBC 5 “I’ve known Ram for 10 to 12 years and I’ve watched him work campaign, after campaign, after campaign.”
Villivalam, is the former political director for Rep. Brad Schneider and has worked for SEIU. Murphy adds “I believe it’s possible for Ram to win the seat.”
She’s also calling for Silverstein to step down because of the allegations from a victims rights advocate who says Silverstein sexually harassed her. Murphy says “elected officials are held to a higher standard, we all know that.”
This is becoming a very crowded race, which will benefit the incumbent. The latest to jump into the contest is Chicago attorney David Zulkey, who serves on the board of the Sauganash Community Association. Alison Leipsiger and Caroline McAteer-Fournier are also running.
Villivalam, however, is the only challenger to report any contributions so far (a bit over $40K). Silverstein had about $75K in the bank at the end of the last quarter and has reported raising $12K since then.