CHICAGO (AP) -- An influential teachers union has endorsed state Sen. Kirk Dillard in the Republican primary for Illinois governor.
The Illinois Education Association announced its endorsement Friday in Chicago.
Cinda Klickna is IEA's president. She says Dillard believes in public schools and says teachers and support staff "believe in Kirk Dillard."
He faces state Sen. Bill Brady, businessman Bruce Rauner and Treasurer Dan Rutherford in the March primary.
The union endorsement could be a big boost for Dillard, who has lagged well behind Rauner and Rutherford in fundraising and has been unable to buy television advertising.
IEA also endorsed Dillard in 2010, when he lost the primary to Brady.
Dillard says he's proud to receive the endorsement.
The IEA represents more than 130,000 teachers, staff and higher education faculty outside Chicago.