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Cash rushes to Dillard from AFSCME, Teachers in closing weeks

With two weeks left before the March 18 GOP gubernatorial primary, loads of cash is rushing to state Sen. Kirk Dillard just as polls indicate he doubled his support among possible Republican primary voters.

Dillard’s gubernatorial acount shows a $100,000 gift from AFSCME and a $100,000 from the political arm of the Illinois Federation of Teachers. That’s on top of another $200,000 from teacher groups early last week to Dillard, a Hinsdale Republican. AFSCME, the state’s largest union group, endorsed Dillard last week. The IFT and the IEA have also put their support behind Dillard.

The flurry of union activity is in addition to work from an outside group — Fund for Progress and Jobs — which last week told the Sun-Times it was investing $700,000 for starters to promote Dillard’s candidacy.

The Fund for Progress and Jobs (the Steve Shearer group, which dropped “Republican” from its name following complaints) has a shared goal with unions and that’s to deny Bruce Rauner a cake walk to the GOP nomination.

“We are now also openly and aggressively beginning a pro-Dillard component,” to their strategy, said Steve Shearer, who is the former chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill. Shearer formed the Fund for Progress and Jobs.

Rauner has maintained a strong lead, however, and still has plenty of funds to tap in the closings days of the race.