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AFL-CIO stays neutral in Illinois secretary of state’s race, months after affiliated workers backed Giannoulias – Chicago Tribune

SPRINGFIELD — The umbrella group of organized labor in Illinois has determined to not make an endorsement for the Democratic nomination for secretary of state, regardless of greater than half of its practically 900,000 workers who’ve already pledged their assist for Alexi Giannoulias.

The lack of an endorsement by the Illinois AFL-CIO alerts excellent news for Giannoulias’ two main opponents in the Democratic main on June 28, particularly his principal rival, Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia, who has confronted questions on whether or not her husband’s lobbying actions have interfered along with her position in public office.

Giannoulias is one of 4 Democrats vying for the nomination to exchange Jesse White, who has been secretary of state since 1999. With greater than $4.4 million in his marketing campaign by March, Giannoulias has maintained an enormous marketing campaign money benefit over Valencia and his different main Democratic opponent, Chicago Ald. David Moore, seventeenth. Sidney Moore of Homewood can also be on the poll.

Tim Drea, the president of the Illinois AFL-CIO, stated Thursday that “the candidates had support from affiliates on both sides,” however none might get the two-thirds assist needed for an endorsement from the umbrella group.

Drea stated the group additionally made no endorsement in three hotly contested Congressional races: The third District, a newly drawn Latino-leaning district that covers town’s Northwest Side and western suburbs and options Democrats Delia Ramirez, a state consultant from Chicago, and Chicago Ald. Gilbert Villegas, thirty sixth; the sixth District in the western suburbs the place two-term U.S. Rep. Sean Casten, a Democrat from Downers Grove, is dealing with off towards first-term Democratic U.S. Rep. Marie Newman of LaGrange; and a crowded race in the first District to exchange retiring Democratic U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush of Chicago.

By the top of final year, Giannoulias had already secured an array of key union endorsements, together with a number of labor teams affiliated with the Illinois AFL-CIO that amass greater than half one million of the group’s practically 900,000 workers. But an endorsement from the umbrella group itself might go a good distance for any of the candidates going into the November basic election as a result of labor unions typically favor Democrats.

In a press release, the Giannoulias marketing campaign stated it was nonetheless optimistic in regards to the race regardless of not receiving the assist from the group.

“Alexi is leading the race when it comes to endorsements from organized labor with announced support from a broad-based coalition of unions that represent more than 600,000 Illinoisans statewide,” a marketing campaign spokesperson stated in the assertion Thursday. “Alexi has proven himself as tireless fighter who has a record of protecting and supporting working families.”

Moore, the Chicago alderman, stated in a press release that he appreciated the AFL-CIO “rejecting the rush to anoint anyone in this race as the front runner.”

“The Illinois Secretary of State’s race is still very competitive and while money and endorsements are important, voters will have the final say,” Moore stated.

Valencia, whose marketing campaign declined to touch upon AFL-CIO choice, has secured endorsements from many main state Democrats, together with White himself, Gov. J.B. Pritzker and U.S. Sens. Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin. Valencia ran Durbin’s 2014 reelection marketing campaign. She’s additionally secured some union assist, together with from the Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois and the Illinois Nurses Association, amongst others.

But Valencia additionally has grow to be marred in controversy currently over questions on whether or not her husband, Reyahd Kazmi, has used his lobbying apply to revenue off connections to Valencia’s position as metropolis clerk.

Various information studies have documented a number of situations during the last 4 years that counsel Kazmi might have benefited financially from that connection, together with when Valencia promoted two corporations for a city-sponsored occasion in 2018 that had been additionally shoppers of Kazmi. While Valencia entered right into a nonpaid “partnership” with these shoppers for a healthy-food program for Chicago’s youth, the information studies stated the businesses have paid Kazmi $52,000 for lobbying work.

In one other occasion, Kazmi’s business accomplice sought Valencia’s assist to increase his business into New Orleans earlier than she arrange conferences with metropolis officers there, in line with the information studies. Kazmi’s accomplice received a contract with that metropolis and rivals then accused New Orleans officers of contract rigging, the information studies say.

Meanwhile, the Valencia marketing campaign has gone after Giannoulias for failing to reveal names of his shoppers from an funding agency the place he served as its wealth director after he served as state treasurer from 2007 to 2011, at the same time as he stresses transparency in authorities in his bid for secretary of state.

On the Republican aspect of the race, state Rep. Dan Brady of Bloomington is in search of the GOP nomination for secretary of state. His marketing campaign has introduced endorsements from a number of Republican state legislators, in addition to from three GOP congressmen, U.S. Reps. Rodney Davis of Taylorville, Darin LaHood of Peoria and Mike Bost of Murphysboro.

Brady’s challenger is John Milhiser, a former U.S. Attorney in the Central District of Illinois, who’s operating for secretary of state as half of a slate of candidates promoted by billionaire hedge fund supervisor Ken Griffin.

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