(CBS) — Republican Bruce Rauner stopped by MacArthur’s restaurant on the West Side to pick up an endorsement from African-American ministers in his run for governor.
WBBM’s Cisco Cotto reports about two dozen black ministers were on a stage behind Bruce Rauner to offer their support.
Rev. Marshall Hatch says this endorsement is about sending a message to Democrats that the African-American vote can’t be taken for granted.
“(Incumbent Gov.) Pat Quinn had every opportunity to stave off some of this,” Hatch said. “All he had to do was appoint an African-American as his running mate, which he had two opportunities to do and for some reason didn’t do it.”
CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports the pastors say they recognize that backing a Republican with mostly Democratic congregations is not a popular move. They say it’s a strategic one.
“If this guy pulls this off with African-American support there’s going to be a different relationship with African-Americans and the Democratic Party,” said Rev. Hatch.
But it’s a strategy that could backfire for the ministers, according to political expert, Maze Jackson.
“If all of these very high-ranking pastors that have been held in very high esteem, if they’re not successful, they’ll prove the lack of influence they have with their constituents,” said Jackson.
While some of the ministers indicated they would encourage their congregations to vote for Rauner, others made a point of publically saying their endorsements are personal.
One minster who was protesting the Rauner endorsement claimed the campaign offered a payment to the churches.
Rauner called that claim “baloney.”