SEIU endorses Quinn for governor

September 14, 2009 3:48:59 PM PDT
A second major union, the SEIU, has added its voice to those endorsing him incumbent Governor Pat Quinn. The Service Employees International Union is the largest in Illinois. Its president, Tom Balanoff, told ABC7 he would prefer that Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes drop out of next year's primary so Democrats could unify behind incumbent Pat Quinn.

"If Dan Hynes was running for comptroller again, I'm sure he would probably endorse him again as comptroller...This endorsement is about a pro-endorsement to Governor Quinn," said Balanoff.

After only nine months as governor, Pat Quinn posed as the new darling of SEIU, 170,000 members strong. They have joined over 100,000 members of Teamsters Joint Council 25 to supply money and troops to Quinn's campaign effort.

"The things you're going to see from this day forward, that kind of partnering on a scale never before seen in Chicago. I think it's going to do some powerful things for the working men and women of Illinois," said John Coli, Teamsters Joint Council 25.

Monday's SEIU endorsement was more bad news for three-term Comptroller Hynes whose campaign had courted union support and in the past had generally won it.

In a statement, Hynes spokesman Matt McGrath wrote, "It's not surprising that Pat Quinn's political supporters want Dan out of the race--they are seeing the same things we are seeing. Pat Quinn is incredibly vulnerable."

North Side US Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky threw her political weight behind Quinn Monday morning but stopped short of asking that Hynes leave the race.

"Those are his obviously decisions. We are just here to show strong support, widening support for Governor Quinn," said Schakowsky.

The governor was asked at the union event, What, if anything, he was trading for the endorsements?

"I'm giving 100 percent of my time since I got sworn in on January 29th of this year to the common good and the public service of Illinois. That's all I'm giving," Quinn said.

Most of the big construction trade unions have not picked a candidate in the governor's race, and there is still no endorsement from the American Federation of State and Municipal Employees, the largest union representing state employees. That will be a tricky one for the governor. He is currently negotiating with AFSCME on layoffs and furloughs to trim the Illinois budget.


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