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This just in… Topinka, Quinn endorsed by AFL-CIO - Union group vows to defeat Rauner

Thursday, Jan 16, 2014

* 4:41 pm - Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka and Gov. Pat Quinn were both endorsed by the Illinois AFL-CIO, according to a news release from the organization.

I think this is the first time that the AFL-CIO has endorsed a statewide Republican since 1986, when Jim Thompson and Jim Edgar were given the nod, so it’s a very big deal for JBT and a major, crushing defeat for Sheila Simon.

And the nod for Quinn should put to rest the constant media speculation that all of organized labor is angry with him - although you gotta figure that AFSCME and the teachers weren’t too pleased with this move.

* Also from the release

Additionally, the [AFL-CIO] board passed a resolution to engage union members to defeat GOP candidate for Governor Bruce Rauner. Rauner, a billionaire private equity magnate, has advocated for a minimum wage cut and made his disdain for unions a centerpiece of his campaign.

“It’s critical that we not only advocate for who we think will be the best candidates for working families, but that we also make sure workers understand who is using them as scapegoats for the state’s problems,” [Illinois AFL-CIO President Michael Carrigan] said.

…Adding… The full Rauner resolution is here.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 4:45 pm:

    Nice birthday gift to Comptroller Topinka!

    Republicans and unions; Thompson, Edgar… Great company to keep.

    Sheila Simon was unavailable for comment…

    Really, no one can find her.

    If someone happens upon her, let her know.


  2. - Timmeh - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 4:48 pm:

    OW Bots: Now on the scene.
    (snark. I’m guessing 4:45 was supposed to be him)

  3. - Empty Chair - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 4:50 pm:

    This comes as Sheila sends out an email declaring a smashing success raising $130k. She should really drop out. JBT deserves to run unopposed.

  4. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 4:51 pm:

    Geez, did Simon play her cards poorly. Jumped ship on Quinn, figuring Lisa would challenge him and she could run for AG.

    Instead of a clear shot at a second term as LG, she’s going to get smoked by JBT.

  5. - sal-says - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 4:51 pm:

    Sheila who?

  6. - walker - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 4:52 pm:

    Judy “The Truth” Topinka earned it.

  7. - OneMan - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 4:56 pm:

    Turns out the AFL-CIO really, really, really hates Banjo music

  8. - PoolGuy - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 4:59 pm:

    can’t drop ship and take a Comptroller run as a consolation prize with JBT as your opponent. Sheila Simon, “what’s she thinking?”

  9. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 5:01 pm:

    Stupid phone recycled, yes that was me, lol

  10. - Anyone Remember - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 5:02 pm:

    Didn’t AFL-CIO endorse Blagojevich in 2006 over the objections of AFSCME?

  11. - Wensicia - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 5:02 pm:

    I think Sheila just said “ouch!”

  12. - Chavez-respecting Obamist - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 5:06 pm:

    Honestly, I’d forgotten who JBT’s opponent is.

  13. - Henry Clay - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 5:06 pm:

    And, on the other hand, it could be that Sheila Simon simply could not stand to remain with and be party to such incompetence. The Simon family was the gold standard in the Democrat Party for honesty, competence, and integrity. Sheila must have cringed during her tenure as LG with Pat Quinn. You can only be loyal to any organization to the point where they diverge from the path of competence and integrity. Sheila reached that “fork in the road” with Pat Quinn after only a year with Pat Quinn. Sheila still has the respect of the citizens of Illinois. Pat Quinn ahh, not so much. Good guy but best described as a buffoon and a survivor.

  14. - Oswego Lite - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 5:07 pm:

    What a shame for the daughter of Paul Simon not to get the AFL’s endorsement. I would’ve thought they would have stayed neutral at worst.
    Won’t that be an interesting campaign flyer from the AFL with photos of all of their statewide candidates and JBT is on there with the rest of the Democratic ticket (sans Sheila)?

  15. - LittleLebowskiUrbanAchiever - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 5:07 pm:

    Sheila probably has the worst political advisors in the world. Thankfully she’ll lose and we won’t have to hear from her again.

  16. - walker - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 5:09 pm:

    Wonder how IFT/AFT voted during the endorsement session.

  17. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 5:12 pm:

    - Oswego Lite -,

    You sure you are from Oswego? lol

    Even the Dems here love them some Comptroller Topinka.

  18. - MrJM - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 5:18 pm:

    AFL-CIO: Accordion > Banjo

    – MrJM

  19. - PoolGuy - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 5:19 pm:

    Sheila has been somewhat a buffoon herself taking on one of the most popular and respected office holders. she should have sat this one out after Lisa stayed put IMHO

  20. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 5:23 pm:

    ===she should have sat this one out ===

    The smart move would’ve been treasurer. But she chose not to take the smart move. Stuff happens.

  21. - Robert the Bruce - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 5:24 pm:

    Hindsight has 20-20 vision with Sheila Simon’s original move. At the time she dropped the LG gig to run for Atty Genl, I don’t remember many people saying that was foolish.

    But switching offices to run against one of the most popular republican incumbents? I don’t remember anyone saying that was a wise move.

  22. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 5:33 pm:

    Once Sheila Simon decided that Pat Quinn was a non-starter for her, every single political decision and positioning of herself has been not very thought out.

    Treasurer was “the play”, but after the debacle of the AG - Lisa “best buds” embarassment, couldn’t muscle that through, and looked weak entering a Primary fight as a 2nd Choice, which leads to taking on, arguably, the most popular Republican in Illinois.

    A walking political mess..,

    Now this, on Comproller Topinka’s birthday, a gift neutralizing Sheila, and her hopes for strong union support.

    Welp, Sheila, you don’t need to send Comptroller Topinka a gift, you give one every day, being on the Dem ticket so far.

  23. - Juvenal - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 5:40 pm:


    That is some revisionist history there, pardner.

    Simon jumped ship when she and everyone else inside the Rail believed Quinn was going to be trounced by Madigan, Daley or both.

    The punditry got it wrong. And Simon came of looking like a political opportunist.

    as for the Topinka endorsement, I am not shocked at all. Topinka has been sympathetic on the pension issues. She is willing to break with the Tea Party. An AFL endorsement would have killed any gubernatorial candidate they hoped to help, but by backing Topinka the AFL can demonstrate their bipartisanship.

    BTW, expect Rauner to trumpet how the unions are out to get him, bacause that is the kneejerk thing to do. But as I have mentioned before, those who have never canvassed a precinct or really studied the numbers fail to appreciate how many union members are GOP primary voters, especially outside of Cook County.

    This aint good for Rauner.

  24. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 5:42 pm:

    “Dance with the one who brung ya!”

    Here endeth the lesson.

  25. - Soccermom - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 5:45 pm:

    One Man and MrJM.

    You have won the Internet.

  26. - Walter Mitty - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 6:12 pm:

    “Dance with the one who brung ya!”
    And plays right into Rauner… Much earlier than I thought… They must really be scared….

  27. - chad - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 6:15 pm:

    I have yet to see anyone in Springfield reap big benefits from engaging in disloyalty. Good for Judy.

  28. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 6:22 pm:

    - Walter Mitty -,

    If I knew what that meant, and how being disloyal is a Rsuner plus, I would Post something snarky.

    Drive-bys are hard.

  29. - Walter Mitty - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 6:38 pm:

    Good point… The union attacking Rauner at this point, is a plus. If he does not knee jerk… along with Meeks this was expected, but perhaps a bit earlier. The point is, YES PQ has the unions. AT least this one out front. Where are the teachers? This IS the Farmers platform. As soon as PQ can explain how his policies have helped this state and the union pensions… Then it hurts the Farmer. There’s plenty more people in this sate that don’t have these pensions but have to pay for them. I hate drive bys… Point taken

  30. - Norseman - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 6:38 pm:

    I’m happy for Judy.

    Re: Quinn endorsement, it shows that self-interest trumps union brotherhood.

  31. - Wallendar - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 6:54 pm:

    It shows you how bankrupt the AFL_CIO is to break with the public employee unions which are the backbone of the labor movement right now.

  32. - PoolGuy - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 6:58 pm:

    waiting for Lisa to not run for AG may have been the smart move, but as Rich says, stuff happens.

  33. - AG for Life Not - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 8:08 pm:

    I heard Lisa Madigan might run for Mayor of Chicago.She has 5 mill burning a hole in her pocket.

  34. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 8:11 pm:

    I don’t think the Union statement helps Rauner. To be honest I don’t think anything helps Rauner now after his huge gaffe in his disingenuous flip flop on the minimum wage issue. If I’m running against Rauner I’d be digging up video of his speech from last September when he stated that he was “adamantly” opposed to raising the minimum wage and not only that, he’d like to roll it back to $7.25 an hour. Anyone who has been paying attention to Rauner at all is saying that he’s just another politician who will say anything at any given moment and the truth be damned, if he thinks it might help him get elected. The only plus the man has is his money and he will try his best to buy the Governorship but I don’t think he will be successful.
    The first reaction to the Quinn endorsement is surprise given the number of times that he tried to renege on agreements that he made with the Union. The more you think about though the more sense it makes. He definitely is more pro collective bargaining than Rauner or Brady. That leaves Dillard who has taken a more moderate tone lately with the primary approaching but apparently the AFL/CIO is seeing through the smokescreen.

  35. - Oneman - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 8:20 pm:

    == I don’t think the Union statement helps Rauner. == If it is his argument that the unions are out to get him and public employee unions are the problem, it does play into ‘they are afraid of me’ argument.

    The question is, is the “public employee unions are the problem” a winning argument?

  36. - Just The Way It Is One - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 8:25 pm:

    This is HUGE, make no mistake about it, for BOTH Quinn and Judy. And REEEAL bad news for Sheila Simon (let alone whoEVer emerges on the GOP Gubernatorial ticket)–it pretty well means she’ll likely end-up toast come November. These Union folks work HARD, many go all out for their endorsed candidates, and not only are the several THOUSANDS within their Membership pushed to back their picks, but their loved ones/family members of voting age are all influenced by their push, too.

    And the Governor’d be the first to tell ya how many votes they garnered for him the LAST time around–and if that was in the oh, say 18,000 or so category of votes–THAT would arguably have been one of the MAjor DIFFERENCE-makers in his title currently being GOVernor Pat Quinn.

    They were surely ticked off at PQ quite a bit over the last 4 years, but when push comes to shove, you just knew they’d stand behind him come crunch time…!

  37. - Truthteller - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 8:45 pm:

    Endorement means much more for Topinka who, reports have it, enjoyed cross the board support as opposed to Quinn who did not get the nod from three of the state’s largest most politically active unions.
    He squeaked by four years ago with solid labor support. He’s got a long way to go to get it this tie, I suspect.

  38. - Our Magician - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 9:00 pm:

    The mayoral job in Carbondale is open soon, but then again, that didn’t work so good in 2007…

  39. - Juvenal - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 9:01 pm:

    Walter Mitty:

    According to PensionWiki, one million adults in Illinois are either paying into a public pension system or receiving benefits.

    And that does not include their spouses, adult children who may be voters, or their close friends.

    Anyone who believes that being as far to the right as humanly possible on pensions is a winning position has ignored the math.

    Every poll I have seen shows the general electorate pretty evenly divided on the issue. But those public opinion polls brush over an electoral reality. Those who support gutting the pension system don’t have life-and-death feelings about it, while those impacted by the pension cuts are highly motivated to vote and vote on that single issue alone.

    Here is perhaps the most critical fact: in 2008, 58 percent of voters in union households voted for Obama. That means 42 percent backed McCain. That 42 percent, roughly one in ten voters, is what Rauner stands to alienate…voters he needs in order to do as poorly as McCain.

    And with all due respect to Senator Meeks, he does not have even a hair or the influence of the CTU in the black community. And anyone who thinks mobs of frustrated black parents are going to rise up en masse to support a guy who clouted his kid into Payton using is ties to Mayor Daley must think black parents are idiots.

  40. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 9:04 pm:

    I’m sure the Labor folks who sat on the pension boards back in the day and voted to approve money for GTCR liked the gratuitous shot in the Rauner resolution.

  41. - Newsclown - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 9:23 pm:

    AFL-CIO Bumper sticker: “Anybody but Rauner. Even Quinn.”

    Nobody wants Quinn back; the only issue in the entire election boils down to everybody agreeing Baron Von Carhartt must be defeated for the good of all.

    That said; there’s an “endorsement” on paper, and there’s the level of actual effort that comes out on election day. Will the endorsement for Quinn be as strong after the primary, if they bump off Rauner then?

  42. - CollegeStudent - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 10:09 pm:

    I’m pretty sure Quinn can count on mass union support if Rauner is the Republican nominee.

  43. - Former Merit Comp Slave - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 10:18 pm:

    Disappointed in AFL endorsement but not surprised.

  44. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 10:52 pm:

    –I heard Lisa Madigan might run for Mayor of Chicago.She has 5 mill burning a hole in her pocket. –

    I heard she’s running for Wizard of Oz. Or Czar of All the Russias. Or Grand Poohbah of the Loyal Order of Raccoons.

    Check in with Kass or Marin. Because they’ve been spot on the last 15 years or so on the great conspiracy to advance Lisa Madigan’s career.

    That whole dustup between Lisa and MJM is just three-dimensional chess. Kass heard it from a guy who’s wired to The Combine.

    You think that national money is going to be there again after the latest round of head-fakes?

    She’s the AG. She might become a federal judge. But that’s it. She’s done.

  45. - Been There - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 11:44 pm:

    ===It shows you how bankrupt the AFL_CIO is to break with the public employee unions which are the backbone of the labor movement right now.===

    The backbone? The trade unions have been the backbone of the labor movement forever. At least as far as the democrats have been concerned. They are the ones that have ALWAYS put boots on the streets. The teachers have always been involved and organized but they have not been supporters of other labor groups in the past (look at the non-union cars in the parking lots). AFSME and SEIU have been self centered in their positions forever.
    The labor union is no different than any other diverse groups. Many different players with different agendas. But its a weighted vote so it is what it is.

  46. - Snucka - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 8:17 am:

    Rich, could this be the first major league test in IL of whether party-crossing “shenanigans” could ever work? I agree with your past assessment that it has never really been effective on a large scale. However, I don’t think we’ve ever seen legit big money and organization behind it.

    On the other hand, if the other three all stay in and none are specifically endorsed by the unions, it will be tough for the union to influence the race much. To beat Rauner with a tsplit “anti-Rauner” vote doesn’t seem likely. Can “someone” get to Brady and/or Dillard with an “incentive” to drop out and focus the union push on helping Rutherford? Would be interesting.

  47. - Mokenavince - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 9:07 am:

    Hardly news if Rauner looks like a winner construction workers unions will take a look.

    Government unions aren’t that poplar, they are very hard to love. This announcement gives Rauner a boost.

  48. - Roadiepig - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 9:48 am:

    A little off subject, but the Decatur Herald and Review gave the little three R’s a “thumbs down” for attacking poor Baron for clouting his daughter when they had done “similar” things themselves. Good too see that they haven’t made their minds up on who they want to be then next governor. Guess its time to stop paying for that far right rag too ( dropped my Chicago Tribune 25 year subscription last year for the same reason. No reason supporting those who spread false information to the public and enjoy taking my life savings away from me)

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