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Kirk Dillard gets yet another major endorsement: Illinois Federation of Teacher

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What was once thought to be a runaway victory for Bruce Rauner in the Republican gubernatorial primary, Illinois State Senator Kirk Dillard is making a competitive race out of it. In spite of the fact that Rauner is pouring millions of dollars of his own money in the race, and the money of his well-heeled friends in the private equity business, Dillard is closely the gap.

Today, Republican candidate for Illinois Governor, Kirk Dillard, picked up another major endorsement with the backing of the Illinois Federation of Teachers. The Illinois Federation of Teachers is made up of more than 100,000 teachers and staff in PreK-12 school districts, higher education professionals, public employees, and retirees throughout Illinois. About one third are members of the Chicago Teachers Union.

“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 encourage anyone who plans to pull a Republican ballot on March 18th to vote for Kirk Dillard,” said Dan Montgomery, President of the Illinois Federation of Teachers and 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," Montgomery said. "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."

"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.” IFT President Dan Montgomery.

The IFT endorsement follows endorsements from the Illinois Education Association, which represents 130,000 teachers and professional staff statewide, and the 36,000 members of the Illinois Retired Teachers Association.

"I'm moving. Rutherford is sinking. Brady is sinking. And Rauner is also sinking. And I'm coming up. That's a ten point swing in a very short period of time," said a confident Kirk Dillard, referring to a newly-released We Ask America poll. Dillard is an Illinois state senator from Hinsdale and is running for governor of Illinois in the upcoming Republican primary (Tuesday, March 18).

Dillard was referring to a new poll that came out yesterday that showed Dillard with some movement. "But I will tell you in that We Ask America poll, it's pretty clear," said Dillard. "I'm moving."

Indeed, as this latest poll published by Rich Miller's Capitol Fax.

But second place is still second place. The latest We Ask America results, with previous two results (most recent first) in parentheses

Rauner: 36% (35, 39)

Dillard: 17% (13, 8)

Brady: 13% (14, 11)

Rutherford: 7% (8, 8)

Undecided: 27% (30, 35)

Indeed he is moving on up. Dillard is starting to feel his campaign is gaining momentum. At a press conference Friday, in which he was announcing yet another endorsement, this one from a normally Democratic-leaning group, Illinois Retired Teachers Association (IRTA), Dillard said, "Things shift." Just last week Dillard got the endorsement of the Illinois Education Association, which represents 130,000 Illinois elementary and secondary teachers as well as higher education faculty, staff and educational support professionals.

"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."

Dillard and his wife Stephanie are the parents of two daughters, ages 10 and 12, both of whom attend public school. "We are indebted to the excellent teachers who give so much to make sure our daughters get a solid education." Dillard, himself, is a product of public schools and went on to earn his college degree at Western Illinois University.

Dillard said education would be a top priority in a Dillard-Tracy administration. "We simply must do better when it comes to preparing our children for the jobs of tomorrow. I have a Best in Class Education plan that empowers teachers to do what they do best – teach."

Dillard went on to describe the important relationship between education and restoring the Illinois economy. "My plan to make us a 'Destination Economy' for job creators goes hand in glove with making sure the students of today become the leaders of tomorrow," Dillard said.

The endorsements from the IFT, IEA and the IRTA add to the growing momentum Senator Dillard is receiving in recent weeks. Dillard also picked up the endorsement of the Daily Herald editorial board.

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Sources:

Chicago Tribune - Dillard gains backing from state's two major teachers' unions

Kirk Dillard campaign

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Other related pieces about Bruce Rauner by John Presta:

Bruce Rauner, GTCR linked to nursing home deaths and abuse, say multiple lawsuits

Bruce Rauner charter schools

Bruce Rauner campaign 'minimum wage' snafus

Bruce Rauner says lower Illinois minimum wage

Bruce Rauner raises $4 million

Bruce Rauner is the Mitt Romney of Illinois politics (Part 1)

Bruce Rauner is the Mitt Romney of Illinois politics (Part 2)

Bruce Rauner is the Mitt Romney of Illinois politics (Part 3)

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Send John Presta an email and your story ideas or suggestions, johnpresta@att.net.

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