Congressman Quigley endorses Giannoulias in heated Democratic primary: ‘I know Alexi will be a great secretary of state’

Quigley’s endorsement is the ninth Giannoulias has received from a current or former Democratic member of the U.S House or Senate.

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Democratic secretary of state candidate Alexi Giannoulias and Rep. Mike Quigley.

Democratic secretary of state candidate Alexi Giannoulias, left, and Rep. Mike Quigley, right, last year.

Ashlee Rezin; Pat Nabong/Sun-Times file

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Rep. Mike Quigley is opting out of the Chicago mayor’s race, but that’s not stopping him from weighing in on the heated contest to succeed retiring Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White.

The Northwest Side congressman is endorsing former state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, campaign officials told the Chicago Sun-Times. In a video announcement, Quigley said Giannoulias, like himself, “is committed to restoring the public’s trust in government.”

“That’s why when he was state treasurer, he put in tough ethics laws and ended pay-to-play right out of the gate,” Quigley said. “I know Alexi will be a great secretary of state, and I hope you’ll join me in supporting him.”

Quigley’s endorsement is the ninth that Giannoulias has received from a current or former Democratic member of the U.S. House or Senate, including Representatives Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Bobby Rush, Jan Schakowsky and Brad Schneider. Former House members Luis Gutierrez and Jerry Costello Sr. and former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun are also backing his candidacy.

Giannoulias has maintained a big edge in fundraising in the contested race. As of March 31, he reported $4,403,133.39 cash on hand. He has so far aired three television ads statewide ahead of the June 28 primary.

His chief Democratic rival, Chicago City Clerk Anna M. Valencia — who is endorsed by White, Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Senators Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin — has faced scrutiny and negative headlines over whether her husband’s lobbying activities interfered with her role in public office.

City Clerk Anna Valencia and Secretary of State Jesse White

City Clerk Anna Valencia, left; Secretary of State Jesse White, right.

Rich Hein/Chicago Sun-Times;| Santiago Covarrubias/Chicago Sun-Times

In a WGN interview aimed at defusing the scandal, which aired in late April, Valencia said her husband, “like many spouses may give you unsolicited advice when you don’t want it,”   but she said he knew that there was a clear line when it came to work matters.

Valencia’s campaign had $1,116,365.49 cash on hand at the end of March, according to campaign disclosure reports.

Ald. David Moore (17th), who is also running for White’s seat in what his campaign has called a grass-roots effort, was endorsed by U.S. Rep. Danny Davis last week. Moore’s campaign reported $38,663.90 cash on hand at the end of March.

Ald. David Moore (17th) speaks with reporters after a Chicago City Council meeting last year.

Ald. David Moore (17th) speaks with reporters after a Chicago City Council meeting last year.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times file

Homewood resident Sidney Moore is also running in the Democratic primary but has not reported raising any money.

Giannoulias was elected state treasurer in November 2006 and later ran against U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., for the U.S. Senate seat that Barack Obama relinquished to be president. During the Senate campaign, Giannoulias was repeatedly hammered over his ties to his family’s Broadway Bank, which collapsed. Kirk defeated Giannoulias in the November 2010 general election.

After his 2010 defeat, Democrat Alexi Giannoulias meets with Republican Senator-elect Mark Kirk at Billy Goat’s Tavern.

Democrat Alexi Giannoulias meets with Republican Senator-elect Mark Kirk at Billy Goat’s Tavern a day after Kirk won their 2010 election contest for U.S. Senate.

Scott Stewart/Sun-Times file

If Giannoulias wins the Democratic nomination in June, he’ll likely face the same criticisms in the general election. Republicans vying for their party’s nomination are state Rep. Dan Brady of Bloomington and former U.S. Attorney for Central Illinois John Milhiser, who is running on a slate with Ken Griffin-backed gubernatorial candidate Richard Irvin.

Late last month, Quigley joined a growing list of politicians announcing they’d be taking a pass on challenging Mayor Lori Lightfoot next year. So far, only Ald. Ray Lopez (15th) and millionaire businessman Willie Wilson have declared their intention to run for mayor next year.

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