Jesse White gives political weight to Anna Valencia in Illinois Secretary of State race

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Campaigning at Manny's Deli is part of the Illinois and Chicago political playbook. It is the first stop of many for Secretary of State Jesse White and Anna Valencia after he endorsed her for the job White has held since 1999.

"She is probably the best and brightest of the ones running, and I believe she will do a good job on behalf of the people in the State of Illinois," White said.

White believes Valencia's current job as Chicago City Clerk gives her the right experience for the Secretary of State's office.

RELATED: Jesse White endorses Anna Valencia for Illinois secretary of state

Valencia is running in the Democratic primary against Alexi Giannoulias and Chicago Alderman David Moore. While individual endorsements don't always mean much in politics, White's backing could make a big difference for Valencia

"White is a top vote-getter in the state of Illinois," Valencia said. "He is beloved by every community."

Besides popularity, White is a longtime political operator who knows how to work for a vote.

"Jesse White has a very strong on-the-ground political organization that could match the kind of organization you see in unions," said ABC7 political analyst Laura Washington.

It is political organizations that Valencia will need to catch up with frontrunner Giannoulias. He has millions in his campaign war chest and already received over 200 endorsements, including from major unions and democratic groups.

"I've done a lot of campaigns in my time," Valencia) said. 'We don't need to match dollar for dollar, we need to get enough money on TV and we win."

White is convinced his support will shift the political momentum Valencia's way.

"My endorsement is going to help individuals who are on the fence, or those who made a commitment to him and decided they are on the wrong horse," White said.

Valencia said fundraising has already increased since White's endorsement Thursday. White said besides helping her raise money, he plans to campaign like it's his own race, working the churches, the precincts and community events.
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