City Clerk Anna Valencia picked up the support Tuesday of the woman who is expected to lead the Democratic ticket next year, securing the endorsement of U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth in Valencia’s bid to succeed outgoing Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White.
Duckworth, who is seeking a second term herself, is the first statewide elected official to weigh in on the heated four-way Democratic primary race for secretary of state.
In a video announcing the endorsement, Duckworth said she “can’t think of a better person to represent us and, more importantly, to serve the people of Illinois.”
“She comes from Granite City, she knows what working families are going through, she knows what every single one of us has faced in terms of difficulties in our life, but she’s persevered, and she’s continued to work hard,” Illinois’ junior senator said in the video. “I hope someday young girls and boys say ‘I want to be just like Anna.’ I certainly do.”
In a statement, Duckworth said Valencia is a “next-generation leader in our state and country, and she will help build a better future for everyone in Illinois and I look forward to running with her on the ticket next year.”
Valencia said she was honored to get Duckworth’s backing. The senator has “led the way for women in this State and has helped pave the way for me to run statewide,” Valencia said in a statement, adding that she looks forward to “campaigning for both of us on the ticket.”
Valencia has leaned on her upbringing in downstate Granite City and her experience managing statewide campaigns before her time in the clerk’s office to set herself apart from others hoping to succeed the retiring White.
Former Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias and Alderpersons Pat Dowell (3rd) and David Moore (17th) are also in the race.
Duckworth’s endorsement comes a little less than a year before the June primary, when voters will choose which Democrat they want to advance to the November general election.
The city clerk officially launched her campaign last month and announced endorsements from Painters District Council 14 and 58 as well as Unite Here Local 1.
Valencia has also garnered the support of U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood and the national organization Latino Victory Fund in the race. If elected she would be the first Latina to oversee the office.
Duckworth, a former congresswoman from Hoffman Estates, was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016. So far, she has drawn no primary challenges for next year, but Republican Allison Salinas is hoping to face her in the general election.