A flurry of endorsements came down Monday as early voting began in Illinois and the candidates gear up for the March 15 primary.
Here’s a rundown of some of the most recent endorsements that were announced in the races for the 8th and 10th congressional districts, 7th and 26th state House seats, and the controversial Cook County State’s Attorney and Circuit Court Clerk posts.
In the 8th congressional district race to fill the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, who is running for U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk’s (R-IL) seat, Raja Krishnamoorthi garnered the endorsement of the statewide teachers’ union, the Illinois Education Association.
“IEA endorses Raja for Congress in Illinois’ 8th District because Raja is the only reliable advocate for public schools, students and teachers in this race,” said IEA president Cinda Klickna. “A lifelong progressive, Raja comes from humble roots. A quality Illinois public education gave Raja the tools to succeed and he will fight in Washington to allow all Americans the same opportunities. The hardworking teachers and support staff of IEA look forward to working with Raja in Congress to advance a working families agenda that makes the American Dream a reality for millions more throughout the state of Illinois and the nation.”
Krishnamoorthi has received the endorsement of numerous other labor unions, including the Amalgamated Transit Union, the United Steelworkers, the Ironworkers, the Illinois State Council of Machinists, the Air Line Pilots Association, the Transport Workers Union, the International Union of Elevator Constructors Local 2, and the Office & Professional Employees International Union Local 45. The businessman also recently gained nods from the Chicago Tribune, Daily Herald and the Chicago Sun-Times.
Meanwhile, his opponent, state Sen. Mike Nolan (D-Elgin) received an endorsement from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC), which crowned him as a “Warren Wing” candidate.
“We are thrilled to endorse Mike Noland, a bold progressive candidate running in a district that Democrats should win,” said Stephanie Taylor, co-founder of the PCCC. “We’re committed to marshalling all of the resources of the progressive movement to elect Mike and other ‘Warren Wing’ candidates in 2016.”
In being deemed a “Warren Wing” candidate, Noland will receive fundraising, staff and volunteer support from the PCCC, garnering the same help the organization provided Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren during her senatorial run.
“The PCCC is endorsing Mike Noland because he is one of the most progressive members of the Illinois State Senate and a supporter of single payer health care. Earlier this year, he passed legislation for pay equity and he’s been a strong fighter for campaign finance reform, including public financing of campaigns. In Illinois, he’s fought to make taxes more progressive, so millionaires, billionaires, and big corporations pay their fair share,” reads the endorsement announcement from the PCCC.
In the 10th congressional district race, Democrat Brad Schneider picked up the endorsement of the Teamsters Joint Local Council 25 on Monday.
“Teamsters Joint Local Council 25 is honored to endorse Brad Schneider’s candidacy,” said local president John Coli. “Brad’s support of workers’ rights, his insistence on fiscal responsibility and accountability and his commitment to his community and other issues affecting working families are key reasons Teamsters Joint Council 25 is committed to this campaign.”
Schneider is going up against Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering for the Democratic nomination in the 10th congressional district. Schneider is hoping to best Rotering in the March 15 primary and go up against incumbent Republican Bob Dold, whom he unseated in 2012, but lost against in a 2014 rematch. Read more about the Schneider v. Rotering race here.
7th House District
In the 7th state House district race between incumbent Chris Welch (D-Hillside) and challenger Chris Harris, both candidates picked up noteworthy endorsements Monday.
Welch announced that he was endorsed by the Progressive Action Project, which is the state political PAC of Citizen Action/Illinois. Citizen Action’s 2016 annual State of Springfield legislative scorecard gave Welch an “excellent” rating last month.
“Not only has Representative Welch come down on the side of economic justice and consumer rights 100% of the time during the last legislative session, he has consistently proved himself to be a true progressive in his years of service, which Citizen Action feels is the exact type of representation we need in Springfield.” said William McNary, co-director at Citizen Action/Illinois. “It also doesn’t help that his primary opponent is a creation of Governor Rauner, whose Democratic-named PAC has funneled millions of dollars to candidates that support his agenda that has been devastating Illinois.”
Meanwhile, Harris picked up the Chicago Tribune’s support Monday. The Trib “strongly endorsed” Harris over the incumbent, whom the newspaper called a “consummate insider.” Harris, according to the newspaper, is an “independent Democrat” that would not be “a party lackey in Springfield.”
26th House District
Touting herself as the “real anti-Rauner Democrat,” Jay Travis has railed against incumbent Christian Mitchell for his support of “core Rauner positions” in the race for the state House seat on Chicago’s South Side. The race has become highly-politicized, with local politicians taking sides, including former Chicago mayoral candidate and Cook County Commissioner Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia, who endorsed Travis on Monday.
“Issues like retirement security, labor rights and public education are deal-breakers — and Mitchell has voted dead wrong on all these issues,” Garcia said in a press release announcing the endorsement. “Voters should support a true progressive on March 15 — Jay Travis, who’s been an accountable, accessible, reliable community organizer for more than twenty years — and will carry her progressive values with her to Springfield in real votes and concrete actions, not just talk and posturing.”
Garcia added: “Rauner’s agenda is so extreme, we simply cannot stand by when public officials or candidates back his so-called ‘turn-around’ agenda, which has rightly been described as a ‘run-aground’ scheme for working people and the state’s neediest residents, including children and elders.”
Garcia has made endorsements in a number of races that have candidates squaring off with those who support Rauner’s policies or are receiving backing from groups and individuals associated with the governor. In light of the ongoing state budget stalemate and its negative impact on public education, Garcia highlighted the work Travis has done in support of public schools.
“I’ve known Jay a decade, and was honored to have her help on my mayoral campaign,” Garcia said. “She was a tremendous leader at KOCO, one of the city’s most respected and effective grassroots organizations, and she’s been a tireless voice for evidence-based, quality public education in her role as an education advocate. She’s a leader we can truly rely on in Springfield: honest, accountable and committed to doing what’s right, not what fat cat Rauner donors want.”
Read more about the race between Travis and Mitchell here.
Cook County State’s Attorney
Former Illinois governor Pat Quinn endorsed Kim Foxx in the Cook County State’s Attorney race on Sunday, saying she “is a strong voice for reform and justice for all.” And the implications of the endorsement continue to be heavily debated today after incumbent Anita Alvarez’s campaign blasted the former state leader for throwing his support behind her challenger.
“To the surprise of no one, career politician Pat Quinn, who has been the beneficiary of hundreds of thousands in campaign spending by Toni Preckwinkle, is now backing her political puppet Kim Foxx,” Mike Carson, campaign manager for Alvarez, said in a statement.
The Alvarez campaign also made note of Quinn’s receipt of campaign donations from Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, for whom Foxx used to work as her chief of staff. Alvarez’s camp also pointed out that the incumbent’s office launched an investigation into Quinn’s Neighborhood Recovery Initiative, an anti-violence program, back in 2014, which hurt the then-governor’s re-election campaign.
The Foxx campaign is countering Alvarez’s push back against Quinn’s endorsement, however, with campaign spokesman Robert Foley saying, “Anita Alvarez is continuing her desperate, false attacks because she’s trying to deflect from her record of failure.”
Meanwhile, Alvarez’s campaign received blowback for featuring the image of Anjanette Albert, mother of slain teen Derrion Albert, in a TV ad without her permission.
The incumbent’s camp acknowledged that they did not contact Albert about use of the image, saying it was a “historical photo” in the “public domain.” Albert said the fact that the campaign did not know who was in the picture is worse than simply using it without her permission.
“You mean they can just pull photos off the Internet without knowing who is in them? The fact they didn’t even know who I was is even worse,” Albert told the Sun-Times.
The Alvarez campaign said they would immediately pull the ad featuring Albert’s image. Just last week, Alvarez chastised the Foxx campaign for featuring video from the Laquan McDonald police dash-cam video in a TV ad. Alvarez has been dogged by calls for her resignation due to public outcry over her handling of the McDonald shooting as well as other police-involved killings.
Read more about the race between Alvarez, Foxx and Donna More here.
Cook County Circuit Court Clerk
The embattled incumbent in the Cook County Circuit Court Clerk race, Dorothy Brown, who lost her initial endorsement by the Cook County Democratic Party, is set to receive the support of a number of south suburban mayors and local leaders on Tuesday, according to an announcement released today. The mayors of Markham, Richton Park, University Park, Country Club Hills, Robbins, Hazel Crest, Harvey, and Matteson are scheduled to appear with Brown at the Bethlehem Temple in Harvey on Tuesday morning to formally announce their support of the incumbent along with trustees and school board presidents of those towns.
Read more about Brown’s race against Chicago Ald. Michelle Harris (8th), who received county Dems’ support, and attorney Jacob Meister in our report on the three-way battle.