Martin Sandoval, the Democratic state senator from Cicero, isn't on the ballot in next week's election in the 77th Illinois House District. Yet, he became the star attraction at a candidate forum in that heated race in Melrose Park.
In a video posted on YouTube, Sandoval stood on a chair and attempted to shout his disdain for Republicans during a forum Saturday. The crowd drowned him out by chanting the Spanish word for "respect," and event organizers and a police officer herded him out of the church hall where the event was held.
"The Republicans are not with our people," Sandoval is heard saying in Spanish as he walks out of the building.
Sandoval is a supporter of Kathleen Willis, the Democratic candidate against veteran Republican state Rep. Angelo "Skip" Saviano of Elmwood Park in the 77th District race. Willis' campaign has received heavy support from Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) as well as $5,000 from Sandoval on Oct. 15, state records show. Sandoval's Senate district includes Madigan's district.
Saviano posted the video from the forum online and blasted Sandoval for his behavior.
"Good ol' Marty got crazy and started ranting and raving in Spanish," Saviano told the Chicago Sun-Times on Monday. "He tried to turn the crowd around on me and it backfired."
Sandoval offered no apologies, saying Saviano and his supporters are racists who had made "a farce of democracy," allegedly co-opting the community group that organized the forum.
"I was there as a Latino leader, and I wanted to ask questions of both candidates," Sandoval said. "I was not allowed to. I was very disrespected by them."
Sandoval said Saviano and his backers are "wolves in sheep clothing, portraying themselves as defenders of the Latino community."