Primaries test loyalty, strength of Rauner and House speaker

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Gov. Bruce Rauner (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Lealan Buehrer/Released)

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CHICAGO (AP) – Two of the hottest state primary contests in Illinois have power brokers spending millions to boot their own from office in political tests designed to show what happens when lawmakers defy their leaders’ wishes.

Rep. Ken Dunkin, a Chicago Democrat, and Sen. Sam McCann, a Springfield Republican, face high-stake challenges because of their votes on union matters. The races are seen as indicators of the political strength of Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

The races are seen as much about them and their perceived strength as an eight-month budget standoff continues. The outcome of the races could have ramifications beyond their districts.

Rauner is supporting Bryce Benton, McCann’s challenger, while labor groups who align with Democrats want to replace Dunkin with Juliana Stratton.

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