That's the suggestion put forward by Alan Cottrell in posts this week on Illinoize and on his own Political Tracks blog.
Cottrell writes that the flyer was sent by "the local Republican committee, Families United for Effective Leadership." F.U.E.L., Cottrell says, is a "local campaign committee," started in 1998 by Thomas "TJ" Somer, now running as a Democrat for the Phelan vacancy in the 15th Judicial Subcircuit, and "used to promote his [Somer's] favored candidates while he was the Bloom Township Republican committeeman."
As I noted here last November, the Chicago Federation of Labor had endorsed Linzey D. Jones, Jr. for the Lipinski vacancy and Judge George F. Scully for the Panichi vacancy. The CFL's original list of endorsements showing this was still available on line as of the morning of January 14 at this link. This is the link to which I tied my November 12 post.
But, Cottrell writes, "the Chicago Fed expects its endorsees to support the other CFL-endorsed candidates -- and certainly not to actively oppose them." And Mr. Somer, with whom Jones and Scully are linked in the above mail piece, is not the CFL's candidate in the race for the Phelan vacancy; Judge John C. Griffin carries the CFL's endorsement in that race.
Cottrell believes that Jones and Scully have been punished by the Chicago Federation of Labor for participating in the Somer mailing. And there is this evidence to back up this suspicion. The link will take you to the current list of CFL endorsements, available on a click from the CFL's home page. Jones and Scully are no longer listed. Griffin still is.
Cottrell's explanation about the CFL enforcing a group unity among its endorsed candidates certainly seems to fit the facts in the 15th Subcircuit races. But what about the countywide races?
The CFL has endorsed many of the same countywide judicial candidates as the Democratic Party (although, interestingly, none of the candidates endorsed by the Democrats for the Appellate Court). However, in two races, for the Bronstein and Riley vacancies, labor and the Democrats part ways. For the Bronstein vacancy, the Democrats endorse Diann Marsalek, but the CFL has thrown its support to Terry MacCarthy. In the Riley vacancy, the CFL stands with James Michal Bailey while the Democratic Party nod was bestowed on Sandra Ramos. The other party-endorsed candidates can apparently participate in campaign activities (including mailings) with Marsalek and Ramos without jeopardizing their labor support.
Can a reader supply an explanation as to the strings, if any, attached to an endorsement from the Chicago Federation of Labor? Perhaps someone in authority with the CFL can advise?
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