Republicans in the 49th District Question Zito’s Democratic Ties

 In Election, Illinois, Nic Zito

Illinois State CapitolAlmost from the very start of his campaign, candidate Nic Zito has been questioned about his ties to the Democratic party.

The Will County News ran a story titled Zito’s Democratic Roots Run Deep shortly after he announced his candidacy.

Many Republicans were questioning the news that Nic Zito had received a donation in October from powerful Chicago machine Democrat Alderman Ed Burke through a campaign fund, the Burnham Committee.

This week a story in the Kane County Reporter questioned Zito’s ties to Democrats:

Batavia Township GOP Chair Sylvia Keppel says that anyone paying attention to the Republican primary race in the 49th House District should have their doubts about Nic Zito, who is running for the seat vacated by Mike Fortner.

“The first time he came to my door he said all the right things,” Keppel said. “The second time he came I straight out asked him if he were a (House Speaker Mike) Madigan plant. I wanted proof and all he could tell me was that he wasn’t his father.”

The 28-year-old Nic Zito has more Democratic connections than just his father, Greg Zito, a former Democratic senator with whom he still lives, to explain to Republican voters in the 49th District.

Nic Zito voted in the Democratic primary in 2008. And in October he received a donation from old-time Chicago machine Democrat Alderman Ed Burke through a campaign fund, the Burnham Committee.

Other Burnham Committee beneficiaries this political cycle include Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Matteson), Michael Cabonargi, Democratic Cook County Board of Review member; Ed Moody, Democratic Cook County commissioner and top aide to Madigan (D-Chicago); and Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County Board president.

Nic Zito’s opponent in the primary is Tonia Khouri, a small-business owner and DuPage County Board member.

Khouri’s campaign website lists her as a free-market conservative and as anti-abortion, pro-family and pro-Second Amendment

Khouri, 47, told the Aurora Beacon-News in August when she announced her candidacy that DuPage County was a model for how to balance a budget.

“In DuPage County, we have cut our budget by $36.5 million and saved taxpayers an estimated $110 million through shared services, joint procurement and consolidation,” Khouri said. “That’s exactly what we need in Springfield. That’s how you balance a budget.”

Khouri shares Keppel’s fears of the area being infiltrated by the Nic Zito Democratic machine.

In a letter about her candidacy to Illinois Republican officials, Khouri said that she refuses “to let Chicago Democrats into Kane and DuPage County – especially in a REPUBLICAN PRIMARY. I am a lifelong Republican and have the track record that shows it.”

Keppel would like to see Nic Zito establish a similar track record.

“I told him to run for some other office, an office not associated with Madigan and the other powerful Democrats in Illinois,” she said. “Then show us you’re a true Republican through your voting record.”

The 49th includes parts of St. Charles, West Chicago, Aurora, South Elgin, Bartlett and Batavia. The primary is March 20.

This story originally appeared in Kane County Reporter on February 15, 2018, and was written by W.J. Kennedy.


Tonia Khouri has been endorsed by Republicans in the General Assembly and by prominent conservative groups. She has a long voting record as a fiscal conservative and never voted for a tax increase as a member of the DuPage County Board.


Tonia Khouri for State Representative 49th District


Illinois is Worth Fight For (Video)

For more information: Read about Tonia Khouri, her experienceleadership, stand on the issues and her endorsements.



Photo of Illinois State Capitol by Nikopoley licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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Patrick Hughes - Opportunity Project, Upstream IdeasTonia Khouri, llinois House 49th district Republican primary candidate