State Senator and Lieutenant Governor candidate Terry Link's political wave machine is operating at full-tilt boogie.
Link just scored the endorsement of the 1,000,000-member Illinois AFL-CIO, the state's largest labor organization, an endorsement that is a potential game-changer in the crowded, seven-candidate Lt. Governor race in the Democratic primary.
The AFL-CIO endorsement, which can help Link raise crucial campaign cash, follows on a recent wave of endorsements from elected officials, community leaders, and business and civic organizations representing all corners and crevices of Illinois.
Link, a Democrat from Lake County, has scooped up the support of, among others, former State Senate President Emil Jones, Cook County Commissioner Forrest Claypool and the Lake County Building Trades Council.
"Terry Link has demonstrated the kind of leadership that we need in the Lieutenant Governor's office," said Claypool.
In addition to former Senator Jones, Link has picked up the backing of current and former Senate colleagues from across regions and across political shades in Illinois. They include: Senators James Clayborne, Gary Forby, Bill Haine, Mike Jacobs, Emil Jones III, David Koehler, Ed Maloney, Ira Silverstein, and John Sullivan; and former State Senators Denny Jacobs, Carol Ronen, and George Shadid.
And Link's support reaches beyond his Senate Democratic colleagues. He has roped in some key Democratic party leaders in some vote-rich Democratic areas, too:
Mason County Democrats Chairman Jay Briney; Franklin County Democrats Chairman Jim Eaton; Kane County Democrats Chairman Mark Guethle; Elk Grove Township Democrats Chairman Brian McPartlin; Alderman Tom Allen, 38th Ward; Committeeman PJ Cullerton, 38th Ward; Madison County Democrats, and St. Clair County Democrats.
And other top Democrats are helping Link behind the scenes, according to sources.
Link, a close friend and ally to Barack Obama from his state Senate days, and who recently attended a glittering White House holiday soirée as a personal guest of the president, has been also doggedly criss-crossing the state meeting, listening, and talking to voters at kitchen tables and at diners and at meeting halls as part of his "kitchen table economics" agenda tour.
"There's no doubt that today, there are far too many politicians in Springfield that are far better at helping themselves than the people they were elected to fight for in Springfield. And this is a problem," said Link.
It is a problem.
But before he can take aim at the the problem from the Lite Guv's perch, Link first has to win the Democratic primary.
Link's top opponents -- Deputy House Majority Leader Art Turner (D-Chicago), State Senator Ricky Hendon (D-Chicago), State Rep. Mike Boland (D-East Moline) -- are no slouches. They are all experienced politicians. They have the right stuff to win.
But Link has more.
Link fights hard like an underdog. His election to the state Senate in 1996 from a heavily Republican district stunned the political world. Grit and determination won the seat. And the same quickly propelled Link from vulnerable incumbent to a safe-seat senator, Senate Majority Caucus Whip, and a powerful Democratic leader in Lake County. It also brought him the 1,000,000 AFL-CIO-member primary endorsement. Not too shabby.
If you underestimate Link in the Lite Guv race, you're a fool.
And if you have any doubts about Link's prowess and potential, there's a guy who knows a little something about being an underdog and who knows a little something about Link whom you can ask -- he's living at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Before you just drop by the White House for a chat -- get an invitation.
Perhaps Barack's buddy can help with that.