IEA Endorsement
Republican gubernatorial candidate Kirk Dillard speaks at a press conference announcing the endorsement of the Illinois Education Association in the 2014 campaign for the GOP nomination for Governor. IEA president Cinda Klickna, left, joins Dillard. (Heather Charles, Chicago Tribune /February 14, 2014)
The Illinois Federation of Teachers endorsed Republican governor candidate Kirk Dillard on Sunday, giving the state senator from Hinsdale the backing of the state's two major — and politically active — teachers unions.
The move by the IFT, which includes the Chicago Teachers Union, also will help Dillard with campaign cash against deep-pocketed Republican candidate Bruce Rauner. The front-running Rauner has stressed his vow to fight "government union bosses" in his campaign for the March 18 primary nomination.
The decision by the IFT to make a Republican primary endorsement reflects ongoing public-employee union concerns over Rauner's status in the four-man race for the Republican nomination. It marked only the second time the 100,000-member IFT endorsed a Republican governor candidate. It backed then-Gov. Jim Thompson's 1986 bid for-relection.
"We know that Kirk Dillard in the Republican primary is the candidate who is best poised and placed to take Illinois where it needs to go," said Dan Montgomery, the union's president.
Montgomery said the union has 20,000 self-identified Republican members and also expects some crossover support for Dillard in the primary. He also said the union will provide Dillard with an unspecified "six-figure" donation.
"It comes not only with significant resources, obviously, but the hearts and minds of our members who will work, have conversations with families and colleagues around the state to hopefully have Sen. Dillard be the winner in the Republican primary," Montgomery said of the endorsement.
Last month, Dillard gained the support of the Illinois Education Association, which represents teachers outside Chicago, and has received $100,000 from the IEA's political action