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CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn has picked up a major labor endorsement for his re-election during a campaign that's already focused on union influence.
 
Service Employees International Union in Illinois said Monday it was backing the Chicago Democrat because of his stance on the minimum wage and integrity in Springfield.
 
Quinn faces what's expected to be a tough challenge from Republican businessman Bruce Rauner.
 
The Winnetka venture capitalist made fighting "government union bosses" a theme during the GOP primary. Unions also made the unusual move of endorsing a Republican in the primary: state Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale.
 
Quinn has traditionally enjoyed union support. However, public employee unions disagreed with his signing of a pension overhaul that cuts benefits for state employees and retirees.
 
SEIU represents roughly 170,000 workers in Illinois.
Published in Local News
   CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn is questioning his Republican gubernatorial rival's ethics, wealth and stance on minimum wage during his re-election bid.
   The Chicago Democrat raised the issues in a story published in Sunday's Chicago Sun-Times.
   Quinn has already tried to differentiate himself from businessman Bruce Rauner by playing up the venture capitalist's wealth and views on minimum wage. Quinn wants to raise Illinois' rate. Rauner initially said he wanted to cut the rate, later saying he'd raise it under certain circumstances.
   Now Quinn is raising questions about Rauner's business dealings and possible links to Stuart Levine, who was convicted in former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's corruption scandal.
   Rauner's campaign says Quinn is playing "political games" and blasts his signing of a pension overhaul cutting benefits for state employees and retirees.
 
Published in Local News
   CHICAGO (AP) - Chicago's mayor and the governor of Illinois are among those celebrating the life of gay rights activist Vernita Gray, who died Tuesday at age 65.
   Gray and her partner, Patricia Ewert, wed in the state's first same-sex marriage in November. Her terminal cancer and her wish to marry convinced a federal judge to order an expedited marriage license. That allowed the couple to get married before the June 1 effective date of Illinois' new same-sex marriage law.
   Gray had worked for gay rights for decades.
   Mayor Rahm Emanuel praised Gray's work for equality and civil rights in a statement Wednesday, calling her "an inspiration to all who crossed her path."
   Gov. Pat Quinn says Gray "fought for what she believed in and made a difference for people across Illinois."
Published in Local News
CHICAGO (AP) - The chief strategist behind Gov. Pat Quinn's re-election campaign calls the Chicago Democrat a tough "street fighter" who knows how to win elections.
   
Bill Hyers told reporters in a conference call Wednesday that the race will boil down to a "clear contrast" between Quinn and Republican nominee Bruce Rauner.
 
Hyers most recently managed Bill de Blasio's successful campaign for New York mayor. In 2012 he managed President Barack Obama's Pennsylvania campaign operations. He also was Midwest director for Obama in 2008.
 
Hyers says Quinn shouldn't be underestimated and is ready for a tough fight. He says those who've dismissed Quinn before have been wrong. Quinn narrowly won a first full term in 2010.
 
Quinn's campaign has focused on Rauner's wealth and changing stance on raising the minimum wage.
Published in Local News
   The votes are in, and billionaire businessman Bruce Rauner has won the GOP nomination for Illinois governor.  Rauner overcame a late surge from State Senator Kirk Dillard to capture the nomination.  State Senator Bill Brady and state Treasurer Dan Rutherford had conceded defeat shortly after the polls closed.  
   If elected in November, Rauner has said he'll model his administration after Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker, who championed anti-union legislation. 
   As expected, Rauner willl face incumbent Governor Pat Quinn who easily won the Democratic nomination over challenger Tio Hardiman.
   There were no real surprises in any of the local races Tuesday.
   U.S. Representative Rodney Davis turned back a nationally watched GOP challenge from former Miss America Erika Harold to remain his party's pick for the District 13 congressional seat.  The Taylorville Republican now faces a November showdown with former Madison County Judge Ann Callis in a race that's being heavily targeted by the National Democratic Party.  Callis defeated George Gollin and David Green for the Democratic nod.
 
   There were several other primary races for congressional seats:  
   In District 3, Sharon Brannigan took the Republican nomination over Diane Harris.
   In District 4, incumbent Democrat Luis Gutierrez easily beat challengers Alexandra Eidenberg and Jorge Zavala to retain the party's nomination.
   In District 8, Republican voters overwhelmingly picked Larry Kaifesh over Manju Goel.
   In District 9, Susanne Atanus edged David Earl Williams for the GOP nod.
   In District 11, Darlene Senger defeated three candidates for the Republican nomination, including strong challenges from Chris Balkema and Bert Miller. 
   In District 14, Democrat Dennis Anderson bested John Hosta for the nomination.
   In District 16, incumbent Republican Adam Kinzinger easily overcame a challenge from David Hale.
   In District 18, Darrel Miller won the Democratic nomination over Rob Mellon.
 
   Tom Cross defeated Bob Grogan for the GOP nomination for State Treasurer. Cross will take on Democratic state Sen. Michael Frerichs of Champaign in the November general election.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
Published in Local News
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - State Sen. Bill Brady says he's ready for round two with Gov. Pat Quinn come November.
 
Brady is one of four Republicans seeking their party's nod in Tuesday's election. Brady, of Bloomington, lost the governor's race to Quinn in 2010. But he said Monday that he's learned the lessons and can beat the Chicago Democrat this time.
 
Quinn has one lesser-known Democratic challenger, but is widely expected to win the nomination.
 
Brady is participating in a final statewide tour to reach voters.
 
He's got scheduled stops in Springfield, a St. Patrick's Day Parade in Peoria, Urbana, Marion and a Chicago train station.
 
The other Republicans are Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford, businessman Bruce Rauner, and state Sen. Kirk Dillard.
 
Rauner and Dillard are also traveling statewide on Monday.
Published in Local News
CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn's re-election campaign is getting an out-of-state boost.
   The Chicago Democrat flew to Los Angeles on Friday for a fundraiser attended by actors and others in the movie industry.
   Quinn campaign spokeswoman Leslie Wertheimer confirmed Monday that Quinn was in Los Angeles for the fundraiser. She said a similar one was thrown in his honor in 2013.
   The Chicago Sun-Times reported those in attendance included actor Joe Mantegna of CBS' "Criminal Minds."
   Quinn has kept a low-profile on the campaign trail so far. He faces one lesser-known Democratic challenger on March 18. Activist Tio Hardiman of suburban Hillside is running.
   Four Republicans are running for Illinois governor. They are state Sens. Kirk Dillard and Bill Brady, business man Bruce Rauner and state Treasurer Dan Rutherford.
 
Published in Local News

 

   Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency not to follow through on its own proposal to reduce amounts of ethanol that must be blended with gasoline.  
   The EPA wants to reduce by billions of gallons the amount of biofuels required in gasoline sold in America.  The agency says the additive is less necessary with more fuel-efficient engines and lower fuel demand.
   Governor Quinn says lowering the requirement could hurt farmers growing renewable fuel crops, like corn.  His office says Illinois' ethanol industry is one of the nation's largest.  
   Critics say ethanol isn't as environmentally friendly as advertised.  The pressure to grow more crops for ethanol has led to planting in areas that might otherwise be set aside for conservation.  Critics also say diverting crops for fuel has contributed to rising food prices.  
   But ethanol advocates say its essential to American energy independance.
 
Published in Local News
CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn won't debate his lone Democratic challenger ahead of next month's primary.
 
Activist Tio Hardiman wrote Quinn a letter requesting debates ahead of March 18, saying the public "deserves a serious debate."
 
Quinn campaign spokeswoman Leslie Wertheimer said Friday she hadn't seen the letter but no debates were to "take place."
 
Hardiman faces an uphill battle. Records for the most recent quarter show Quinn's campaign has $4.5 million in the bank, compared with $550 for Hardiman, who's mostly self-financed.
 
He's been active in anti-violence efforts, but doesn't have statewide name recognition or party backing.
 
Hardiman insists he'll run a credible campaign.
 
The Republican gubernatorial candidates are participating in numerous debates. They are Treasurer Dan Rutherford, businessman Bruce Rauner, and state Sens. Kirk Dillard and Bill Brady.
 
Published in Local News
CHICAGO (AP) - The state of Illinois is offering more help to low-income households struggling to heat their homes because of a shortage of propane.
 Earlier this week, Gov. Pat Quinn declared the shortage in Illinois an emergency. He relaxed rules on truck drivers so they could travel out of state in search of propane supplies.
On Friday, Quinn announced other steps, including an additional credit of $1,000 for each household taking part in a program that helps low-income residents with home energy bills.
The governor says no one should have to choose "between feeding their families and heating their homes."
In another change, the state will temporarily waive inspections of trucks carrying propane shipments to speed up delivery.
Officials are also asking consumers to report any suspected price gouging.
Published in Local News
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