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updated: 8/29/2014 5:20 AM

Riopell: Candidates working Labor Day angles

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  • Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, left, is running for re-election against Repubican Bruce Rauner -- and the campaigning will just continue during the "official" start of fall campaigning, Labor Day.

      Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, left, is running for re-election against Repubican Bruce Rauner -- and the campaigning will just continue during the "official" start of fall campaigning, Labor Day.


That the upcoming Labor Day weekend is the traditional start of the campaign season might be considered a joke by people who have been following Illinois politics, where the campaign for governor seemingly has been boiling since the holiday last year.

No kickoff is needed when the two candidates have been kicking each other for months already.

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Monday's labor holiday, though, is a reminder of the role of politically minded union members in the race.

A recent flier from the Illinois Federation of Teachers, which backs Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, tries to tie his Republican opponent Bruce Rauner to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. A video does the same and quotes Rauner from his appearance at the Daily Herald's candidate forum during the primary: "They try to say I'm anti-union or anti-worker. Baloney. Who's anti-worker are the government union bosses."

Why the hard work?

Union leaders hope many members' dislike of Walker will push them to the polls for Quinn on Election Day, counteracting organizers' earlier bashing of Quinn over his quest to save Illinois money by cutting into public employees' retirement benefits.

Rauner has his own labor message, working to tie the state's higher-than-average unemployment rate to Quinn.

"Instead of delivering jobs and quality education, Quinn delivered record tax hikes, high unemployment, massive education cuts and lower take-home pay," Rauner wrote in an essay that ran Thursday in the Daily Herald.

Not so fast

"That would appear to be very easy to do."

That's Republican Jim Oberweis, a state senator from Sugar Grove and candidate for U.S. Senate against incumbent Dick Durbin, about overriding Quinn's veto of his plan to raise the speed limit as high as 70 mph on tollways.

Only 10 of the 169 lawmakers who voted on the proposal went against it, which is why Oberweis thinks an override would be easy.

But Democrats control Springfield, and if they want to deny Oberweis a victory like Quinn did, they might find ways to make things less than easy.

Election overlap

As one campaign season unofficially starts, another ... starts.

Lots of mayors, school board members and other local officials are up for election next April.

They could start this week to gather petition signatures to get on that ballot, just as most voters are starting to tune in to the election that's two months from now.

So if it seems to you there is no break to people asking for your vote, you're right.

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