- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 5, 2014

CHICAGO (AP) - State Sen. Kirk Dillard is defending union endorsements he’s received in the Republican gubernatorial race.

Dillard and state Sen. Bill Brady, businessman Bruce Rauner (ROW’-nur) and state Treasurer Dan Rutherford (ROOTH’-ur-furd) attended a debate Wednesday hosted by WGN-TV and the Chicago Tribune.

Dillard picked up an endorsement the same day from Illinois’ largest public employees union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31. He has also received backing from teacher unions. Labor involvement in a Republican primary is unusual.

Rauner says that Dillard should be running in the Democratic primary because of the union backing. Brady criticized Dillard’s past votes on pension reform.

Dillard says he won’t always agree with unions, but there’s nothing wrong with being appreciative of teachers and he can work with unions.

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