A labor union in Illinois is donating money to the Libertarian candidate for governor in an apparent plot to siphon votes from the Republican.
The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150, which endorsed Illinois Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn for reelection, has paid for glossy household mailers backing Libertarian Chad Grimm.
The mailers describe Grimm as “the only true conservative choice for governor,” noting his opposition to abortion and his support of gun rights, according to the Associated Press.
Additionally the union made a $200,000 donation to a political action committee to pay for ads and mailers and a direct $30,000 boost to the Grimm campaign earlier this month.
Though officials at the union admit the majority of their membership supports Quinn, they say they are “committed to offering a viable choice for members who do not support Democrats.”
The union denies they are supporting Grimm because Republican Bruce Rauner made fighting “government union bosses” a focus of his primary campaign.
“Nearly half of our members in Illinois pull Republican ballots in a typical primary election, so it is important that these members have the opportunity to back a candidate that will not attack their livelihood,” spokesman Ed Maher told the Chicago Sun-Times.
Grimm, whose campaign had just $100 on Sept. 30, said he has no qualms about accepting help from a union that has formally endorsed Quinn.
“I’m not going to turn it down,” Grimm told the Associated Press. “I can’t possibly get behind everybody’s motivations for wanting to help out.”
But Rauner’s spokesman, Mike Schrimpf, told the Associated Press “Illinoisans… understand that a vote for Grimm is the same as voting for Pat Quinn.”
Other Illinois labor unions have spent millions in their attempts to defeat Rauner.
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