Teachers endorsement means donations, volunteers

October 6, 2010 (ROSEMONT, Ill.)

Whether it goes to a Republican, as it has in the past, or a Democrat, the Illinois Federation of Teachers endorsement is huge and means several hundred thousand dollars in campaign donations and thousands of volunteers to staff phone banks and do political legwork.

For candidate Pat Quinn, Wednesday was like walking into a room filled with money. The governor and his running mate, Sheila Simon, can expect six-figured campaign donations from the 103,000 member teachers' union.

"We have to invest in brainpower. There's no substitute for that there's no substitute for that. By investing in that, we will have a better state," said Gov. Quinn.

IFT President Ed Geppert said the union will urge its members to help get out the vote for Quinn. Geppert said Republican Bill Brady never came close to getting the group's endorsement.

"He is toxic for public education," said Geppert. "His constant rhetoric, which seems to be going further to the right, is one that is very upsetting to us, and would create more problems in this state."

With the latest independent polls suggesting the race is close, Senator Brady launched three new television ads Wednesday. Two of the ads resurrected the controversy over the Quinn administration's early release of state prison inmates that included some violent offenders, "Since being released by Quinn, many have been charged with new crimes..."

Quinn called Brady desperate.

"I think Senator Brady is consistently wrong and consistently reckless," said Quinn.

Meanwhile, Independent candidate Scott Lee Cohen used a ship moored at Navy Pier to introduce his "All Hands on Deck" program to create jobs in Illinois. But, he walked out of his own news conference for several minutes after being questioned about the effectiveness of his campaign job fairs.

"I am so sick and tired of negativity by the media. Do you see anybody that has a better plan?" said Cohen. "Do you see anybody out there trying to put the people back to work? That's enough. I've had enough. Thank you very much for coming."

Cohen returned minutes later to answer a few more questions. He said despite Governor Quinn's endorsement by union leaders, the rank-and-file would make their own choices.

The new Brady ads and the new Quinn money is assurance that the television commercial barrage will continue in the Illinois governor's race.

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