Unless, maybe, conservative Republican Bruce Rauner wins the GOP
"There are some hard feelings right now," Democratic state
representative Brandon Phelps told Illinois Watchdog. "But if Bruce Rauner
wins, the unions have no place else to go."
|SINGLE ISSUE: Illinois'
public unions support anyone who supports them.
Rauner has focused his campaign on "taking on the union bosses."
"We've got the government unions bosses running the government for
their benefit, not your benefit," Rauner told a crowd at last
weekend's Illinois Farm Bureau meeting in Chicago. "I am the one
person who will stand up to them … stand them down. Challenge their power."
Phelps voted against the new pension reform law because, he says, it
will take too much away from the mostly union voters in his
Phelps said Quinn has about a year to try to rebuild some trust.
"He could reopen some prisons, and make good on the back pay,"
Phelps said. "Union members may be able to set aside (pension
reform). But they will never forget."
Jim Nowlan, a former Illinois lawmaker turned political expert and
author, agrees that public employee unions will never forgive Quinn for signing
a law they truly hated.
Those hard feelings would subside if Quinn faces Rauner, Nowlan
|NO LOVE: "If Bruce Rauner
wins, the unions have no place else to go.”
"The unions really have no place to go, especially if Rauner is
nominated, as is looking more likely all the time," Nolwan said,
intimating that unions may support another GOP candidate in the
That support, however, won't necessarily help the other three
Republicans in the race.
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"The three other GOP candidates represent the insiders, the problem
rather than the solution, at least as Rauner will portray them," Nowlan said.
"They are flailing around, without issues or clear messages or the money to
Phelps said Rauner has a genius strategy to win the GOP nomination,
but he wonders whether Rauner can use the same anti-union lines to
win in November.
|NEVER FORGET: Phelps says
union members in southern Illinois will always remember Quinn's
signature on pension reform.
"Politics is the science of addition, not subtraction," Phelps said.
"I think he is making a huge mistake in taking on the public employee
unions, because so many people rally around them."
It's not just voter support the unions bring to the governor's race.
The major public employee unions — AFSCME, SEIU, the Illinois
Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Education Association — have
huge fundraising arms.
The Chicago Sun Times tallied union spending and found the state's
top 10 unions spent $100 million on campaigns since 2000.
Quinn's campaign has taken in $7.4 million, the most of any
candidate, during those same 13 years.
Contact Benjamin Yount at
Ben@IllinoisWatchdog.org and find him
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