CHICAGO - For only the second time in its endorsing history, the Illinois Federation of Teachers made a pick in the Republican primary - State Senator Kirk Dillard. The IFT is the second teachers' union to get behind Dillard.
The Illinois Education Association announced their backing in February and followed up with a $50,000 campaign donation. Friday, IEA's PAC gave Dillard another $50,000.
“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," IFT President Dan Montgomery said. "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."
While the IFT boasts "a long history of bipartisanship," their endorsement of Dillard is only the second time in the union's history they've endorsed a Republican candidate for Governor. They endorsed Jim Thompson in 1986.
"This election is simply too important to sit on the sidelines, and we are getting in the game for the future of Illinois," Montgomery said in a press statement.
“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 two daughters get a solid education.”
Dillard is one of four GOP candidates in the March 18th gubernatorial primary. Chicago businessman Bruce Rauner has taken on public sector union bosses, while State Senator Bill Brady and State Treasurer Dan Rutherford have taken a more moderate stance on public sector unions.