Sandi Jackson won the 7th Ward race with troops and funds from organized labor, and in the last couple of weeks her husband, Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., has started working for union-backed candidates Bob Fioretti in the 2nd Ward, Pat Dowell in the 3rd Ward, and Joe Moore in the 49th. But in the south side's 21st Ward the Jacksons and union workers are on opposing sides of a runoff battle.
Challenger Leroy Jones Jr., an SEIU official, received more than $200,000 in union support before the first round of balloting and has gotten thousands more since, though according to campaign records the pace of labor's giving has slowed down. He's trying to unseat alderman Howard Brookins Jr., who alienated organized labor by courting Wal-Mart and voting against the big-box minimum-wage ordinance.
Congressman Jackson, who spoke out in favor of the ordinance last year, said over the weekend that he wanted to see Moore and other union candidates elected to "buttress" his wife and other "progressives" in the City Council.
But Jackson is an old friend of Brookins's, and he reaffirmed his support of the alderman minutes after endorsing Moore to the cheers and chants of dozens of union members.
"My [union] allies had tried to convince me to support Jones," Jackson said. "But I've known Howard Brookins all my life. . . . I'm not going to lose my friendship with him over a political issue."
Jackson said Brookins was in real trouble in parts of his ward. "But he's a grown man," Jackson said. "He has to go out and do it."