State Sen. Kirk Dillard today won the backing of the state's largest state employees' union, giving him a trifecta of endorsements from Illinois' most powerful public sector unions.
The endorsement from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees comes days after Dillard was backed by the Illinois Federation of teachers and weeks after the Illinois Education Association's endorsement.
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The Hinsdale Republican hopes the union backing will bolster his campaign for governor with less than two weeks before the March 18 primary, but the support of public unions is controversial among many conservatives, particularly as Winnetka businessman Bruce Rauner has spent months of campaigning and a bevy of TV ads criticizing "government union bosses."
"He rejects the demonization of public employees -- the teachers, state police and correctional officers, caretakers for those with disabilities, and thousands of others who provide the vital public services that Illinois citizens demand," AFSCME Council 31 President Henry Bayer said in a statement.
Dillard, Rauner, state Sen. Bill Brady and Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford are set to meet for another debate at 6 p.m. today on WGN.
Brady and Dillard in particular have sharpened their attacks on Rauner as the televised debates give them valuable TV face-time with voters to compete with Rauner's ad campaigns.
Dillard's teachers union endorsements have come with campaign cash, including $150,000 reported yesterday.
Rauner, by comparison, gave his own campaign $1 million earlier this week and $1.3 million last week.