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Plumbers Union Endorses Lightfoot, Almost By Default

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Lori Lightfoot got an endorsement from the politically influential blue collar Plumbers Union.

The leader of that union claimed he was snubbed by Toni Preckwinkle.

Lori Lightfoot was backed Tuesday by the Plumbers Union Local 130, an endorsement over Toni Preckwinkle, which the union boss said came almost by default.

"I had a long relationship with her. She never reached out to me. I've known Toni Preckwinkle as long as I've been the manager here, and I never got a phone call, is all I can tell you," said James Coyne of Plumbers Union Local 130.

Four years ago, the plumbers endorsed Rahm Emanuel. In this year's first round, the union backed Bill Daley, citing a 60-year relationship with the Daley family. But Coyne said Lightfoot's emphasis on jobs won him over.

"What we're talking about is what is the leader who is going to have the vision and the strategy to move our city forward and of course, that has to be creating jobs and opportunity for people in every neighborhood and zip code," Lightfoot said.

The two candidates also clashed at the Chicago Tribune editorial board. Lightfoot demanded an end to aldermanic prerogative, but Preckwinkle was non-committed.

"No alderman should have that kind of power where they feel the only way they can get basic city services and get business done in a ward is to kiss the ring of the alderman. That's fundamentally the problem," said Lightfoot.

"There's a process in place, namely an electoral process, to give people the opportunity to make corrections if they think that their alderman is not performing. And that's what we call elections," Preckwinkle said.

Instead, Preckwinkle said outside employment for aldermen should be banned to eliminate conflicts of interest.

Elsewhere on the endorsement front, Preckwinkle won the endorsement of the painters union while Lightfoot picked up the support of former mayoral candidate Paul Vallas South Side activist Father Michael Pfleger.

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