One of the state’s largest unions has made it official: It’s backing Democrat Pat Quinn for governor.
The AFL-CIO said Thursday it was backing Quinn in the March primary, helping to dispel rumors the incumbent may be abandoned by union voters as a result of the pension reform bill he signed last year.
The announcement came as the union, which represents 900,000 members across the state, released its primary election endorsements for statewide and legislative races.
For the first time in many years, the union also endorsed a Republican. Judy Barr Topinka won the nod for Comptroller over Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon, a Democrat.
In a related move, on Wednesday the union also announced it would actively work against the candidacy of Republican Bruce Rauner. In a resolution released by the AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education, the organization said it was “commit[tted] to doing everything possible to educate union members, our community partners and the public to oppose the candidacy of Bruce Rauner for Governor.”
As the wealthy Winnetka businessman has made attacks against “union bosses” a centerpiece of his campaign, the move was widely expected in political circles. A spokesman told AP that the effort could include “television advertising and other initiatives.”
In addition to the Quinn and Topinka endorsements, the AFL-CIO also said it would back Democrats Dick Durbin for U.S. Senate, Lisa Madigan for Attorney General and longtime Secretary of State Jesse White.