CHICAGO (AP) -- The state's largest public employees union is endorsing state Sen. Kirk Dillard to be the Republican candidate for governor.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31 says Dillard has a long record of public service and understands state government, making him the best choice.
AFSCME director Henry Bayer said in a written statement Wednesday that Dillard rejects what he called "the demonization of public employees."
Dillard voted against the public pension reform plan recently passed by the Legislature that many unions opposed.
Several major teachers unions are also backing Dillard, who is from the western Chicago suburb of Hinsdale.
The primary is March 18.
Dillard faces state Sen. Bill Brady, businessman Bruce Rauner and state Treasurer Dan Rutherford for the GOP nomination.