On a sunny Saturday afternoon, Mayor Rahm Emanuel received another blow to his campaign as the president of a major union endorsed challenger Jesus "Chuy" Garcia and took a shot at President Obama to boot.
Tom Balanoff, president of the Illinois Council of the Service Employees International Union, wishes Obama stayed out of the mayor's race, he told NBC Chicago after the union endorsed Garcia Saturday.
"We don't support everyone the president supports," Balanoff said.
The union represents at least 100,000 workers in Chicago, with about 40 percent of them in the healthcare industry, according to Balanoff. The state union president said he would ask all members of the union to vote for Garcia and promised that "perhaps thousands" of members would be going door to door to campaign for the candidate.
Balanoff also said the union would contribute money for Garcia television ads, but he did not specificy how much they would dole out.
Garcia has racked up several big-name endorsements in recent weeks, including ones from the Rev. Jesse Jackson, former mayoral candidate Willie Wilson, his Cook County commissioner colleagues, Rep. Danny Davis, the Teamsters Local 743 and former Illinois Senate President Emil Jones.
Despite the landslide of endorsements that have befallen Garcia, the latest Chicago Tribune poll shows the mayor has a double-digit lead.
Emanuel recently attacked Garcia's shaky budget plan in television advertisements and press conferences.
Balanoff did not address the budget in his endorsement announcement. Instead he railed on Emanuel about school closings, cutbacks at O'Hare International Airport and red light cameras.