CHICAGO (CBS) — In a rare move, President Barack Obama is joining the fray in an Illinois House race, backing a first-time candidate against a Democratic incumbent in a race that has become a proxy war in the battle between Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Obama has endorsed Juliana Stratton for state representative in the Illinois 5th District, against incumbent state Rep. Ken Dunkin, who has frequently drawn the speaker’s ire by leaving him without enough votes to override Rauner’s vetoes of labor union and budget issues.

The president recorded TV and radio spots for Stratton, a first-time candidate for public office, who currently is on leave from her job as head of the Center for Public Safety and Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

“I’m endorsing Juliana because this campaign is a fight for the future of our neighborhoods. It’s about supporting those who will stand up for our children, our seniors, and our working families. Like me, Juliana is tired of the violence on our streets. Julian will crack down on gun violence and fight for tougher penalties for violent offenders. And, as a mom, Juliana knows how important child care is, and she’ll work to restore child care funding to help working families,” he said in a radio ad for Stratton.

Obama might have offered a sneak preview of his endorsement of Stratton earlier this year, when he lashed out at Dunkin in Springfield.

Dunkin drew a rebuke from the president when Obama addressed the Illinois General Assembly last month about the benefits of compromising across party lines.

When the president told lawmakers that compromising with rivals from the other party “doesn’t make me a sellout,” Dunkin jumped out of his seat and shouted, “Yes!” but Obama told him to sit down.

“We’ll talk later, Dunkin. Sit down,” Obama said.

In recent months, Dunkin’s absence from the House floor in Springfield has helped Rauner avoid overrides of his vetoes on legislation that would have forced binding arbitration when contract talks with state labor unions reach an impasse, and on changes to spending for child care and state aid for the elderly and disabled.

Stratton said Obama’s endorsement is for her, and not just against Dunkin.

“President Obama and I have many of the same shared values. You know, both of us have a belief in the future of our neighborhoods, and we know that that future is at stake in this election,” she said.

Dunkin has defended breaking ranks with his party, saying he was working behind the scenes with Rauner on a compromise to roll back cuts to child care subsidies and services for the elderly and disabled.

“I don’t work for Mike Madigan,” Dunkin has said.

Two political action committees affiliated with Rauner have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars supporting Dunkin’s re-election.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s former chief of staff, said the president isn’t endorsing a candidate as much as he is endorsing an end to the state budget stalemate.

“Where we now are literally holding back poor kids who are accomplishing great things in education and not funding it correctly, so the fact that we now have kids leaving college because of their state government doesn’t have the right budget priorities, that’s what the endorsement is,” Emanuel said.

Emanuel made the comments after a Casmir Pulaski Day speech at the Polish Museum of America.