State Senator Antonio "Tony" Muñoz (D-1st)
Senator Muñoz steps down
Future son-in-law has clear path to succeed him
By Tim Hadac
State Senator Antonio “Tony” Muñoz (D-1st) whose district includes all or parts of Garfield Ridge, Archer Heights, Brighton Park, McKinley Park, has suddenly withdrawn from his re-election race.
No reason was offered, but in a statement he said he plans to continue “supporting the causes he is passionate about and spending more time with his family.” The 58-year-old Muñoz has served in the post since 1999 and has been assistant majority leader since 2009.
The full statement from Muñoz is posted at https://www.illinoissenatedemocrats.com/caucus-news/18-senator-antonio-munoz-news/3890-bidding-farewell-to-springfield.
Muñoz had filed re-election petitions with the Illinois State Board of Elections in early March, and withdrew his name on April 20, according to the ISBE. The senator announced the move the following day.
His departure leaves just one candidate in the June 28 Democratic primary: his future son-in-law, Javier Loera Cervantes.
The move has been described by some political analysts as a deal in which Muñoz never intended to run for re-election, despite filing to run.
In an interview with the Clear-Ridge Reporter & NewsHound, the 39-year-old Cervantes did not directly address the matter, but did say he has the senator’s support.
Cervantes served as a campaign manager for Muñoz during the senator’s successful re-election race in 2020, when he beat back a primary challenger with 62% of the vote.
A native of the Pilsen neighborhood, Cervantes is an only child raised by a single mother, Victoria, a Mexican immigrant. His father was slain in street violence when Cervantes was still in the womb.
He is an alumnus of Juarez Community Academy. He co-hosts PilsenPod, a community news podcast. He also was recently active in campaigning for LSC candidates at Juarez.
A photographer, videographer and graphic designer by training, Cervantes has in recent years worked in and around government. He was employed by the City of Chicago as an aide to 16th Ward Ald. Stephanie Coleman, and he has worked as a business manager for the Service Employees International Union, representing staff in nursing homes, as well as home health workers.
Cervantes also has worked for Reyes Kurson, a firm engaged in government affairs and others areas of the law.
He currently lives outside the district—near 24th and Oakley–with his mother, now age 76 yet still working as a custodian with the Chicago Public Schools.
He is the father of a 15-year-old daughter, Madison, a student at the Chicago High School for the Arts.
Assuming he is elected (no Republican has filed to run in the heavily Democratic district), he will need to move into the district. He told the Clear-Ridge Reporter & NewsHound he and his fiance, Dolores, are eyeing Cicero and Berwyn as a place to buy a home.
He said as a state senator, his background in community organizing and public affairs will make him better suited to be effective than someone who needs to learn all the ropes. He said he plans to focus on issues like public safety, labor, senior citizens’ affairs and providing gang alternatives for youths.
Cervantes also said he wants to be an advocate for small businesses and welcomes the opportunity to meet with and speak before community groups like local chambers of commerce, neighborhood watches and civic associations.
“I’m at my best when I’m mixing it up with people from the community,” he said. “I want to hear what people have to say, I want to share ideas, and I want to be their advocate in Springfield.”
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