* I told my subscribers this would happen on Saturday. From a Sunday press release…
Today, the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) announced their endorsement for Senator Kirk Dillard to be the Republican nominee for Governor.
At a news conference with Senator Dillard, IFT President Dan Montgomery released the following statement:
“Senator Dillard has been a tireless advocate for public schools and our communities and a strong voice for teachers and retirees regarding the unconstitutionality of recent pension theft legislation.
We have already told our members for whom not to vote, and now we’re making it more clear: we encourage anyone who plans to pull a Republican ballot on March 18th to vote for Kirk Dillard,” said Montgomery, a high school English teacher for nearly 20 years.
“While we have a long history of bipartisanship, this is a significant moment for the IFT. Other than our support for Jim Thompson, this is only the second time in our history when we have endorsed a Republican candidate for Governor. This election is simply too important to sit on the sidelines, and we are getting in the game for the future of Illinois.
Kirk Dillard has a record of respecting working families in the past and a willingness to work with us in the future. We are proud to recommend him in the Republican primary.”
The IFT endorsed Jim Thompson in 1986.
Senator Dillard thanked IFT members for their support:
“I’m truly honored by this support from the Illinois Federation of Teachers,” Dillard said.
“As I’ve said about our previous endorsements from teachers organizations, my father was a public school teacher for 40 years, and would be proud to see so many hard-working teachers getting behind our campaign. We are indebted to the excellent teachers who give so much to make sure our daughters get a solid education.”
Dillard and his wife Stephanie are the parents of two daughters, ages 10 and 12, both of whom attend public school.
Additional recommendations for the March 18th Primary Election can be found on the IFT website here.
The IFT endorsement does not currently extend to the General Election.
* Here’s what they’re putting in. From the Tribune…
Montgomery said the union has 20,000 self-identified Republican members and also expects some crossover support for Dillard in the primary. He also said the union will provide Dillard with an unspecified “six-figure” donation.
“It comes not only with significant resources, obviously, but the hearts and minds of our members who will work, have conversations with families and colleagues around the state to hopefully have Sen. Dillard be the winner in the Republican primary,” Montgomery said of the endorsement.
Last month, Dillard gained the support of the Illinois Education Association, which represents teachers outside Chicago, and has received $100,000 from the IEA’s political action committee. He had received the IEA’s backing four years ago when he lost the nomination to state Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington by 193 votes. Brady is back in the race this time along with state Treasurer Dan Rutherford of Chenoa.
Brady, who supported a union-opposed plan to change public employee pensions to close a $100 billion unfunded liability, has contended Dillard “sold out” his vote to unions by opposing the law. The unions also are challenging the law’s state constitutionality.