SEIU ready to factor in Chicago municipal elections

Union head says it will pour money in races

December 8, 2010

By Natalie Moore

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The head of one of Illinois’ largest unions says his group wants to be a key player in Chicago’s mayoral and aldermanic races.

Tom Balanoff is head of the Service Employees International Union in Chicago. He said the SEIU will pour money into the Chicago election cycle.
"I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if that figure doesn’t exceed $1 million," Balanoff said.
Questionnaires have gone out to all of the aldermanic candidates so endorsements can be done before the February primary. Balanoff said rank-and-file members are consistent in what they want.
"We need independent city council. That we need Chicago to really have a check and balance. They want a city council that has real debate," he said.
In 2007, the SEIU put $2 million in aldermanic races. The union said it got them nine victories.
As far as the mayor’s race, Balonoff said the union will likely wait until the runoff election in April to make an endorsement.