More than a dozen pastors of predominantly African-American congregations are endorsing the Republican candidate for governor. Those ministers, who make up a group called the Economic Empowerment Forum, argue the support of their communities has been taken for granted by Illinois Democrats, including Gov. Pat Quinn. Pastor Robert Patterson of Chicago’s Spirit of Truth Missionary Baptist Church says supporting Bruce Rauner will change that assumption.
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“No party owns the black community,” Patterson said. “No politicians automatically deserve our vote just because the letter ‘D’ is next to their name.” A protester outside the endorsement event claimed that Rauner was paying off these leaders for their support, which Rauner denied. “That’s baloney,” Rauner said. “In no way is that occurring whatsoever.” Rauner has made several efforts to court African-American voters in Chicago. He has opened campaign offices in predominantly black neighborhoods, and donated $200,000 to a credit union.