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Quinn’s Doomed Strategy Gave Rauner an Easy Win PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 09 November 2014 05:48

Bruce Rauner out-performed fellow Republican Bill Brady’s 2010 gubernatorial-election performance in every region of the state last week. As I write this, with less than half a percent of the vote yet to be counted, Rauner has a 5-point margin over Governor Pat Quinn and appears to have won a majority vote in a three-way election.

The national headwinds against the Democratic Party surely played a role in the Quinn loss. But Rauner did better than other Republicans on the ticket. Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka is widely considered one of the most popular Republicans in Illinois, and yet she under-performed Rauner. At this writing, GOP state Representative Tom Cross and Democratic state Senator Michael Frerichs are just about tied in the treasurer’s race. And Republican Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier appears to have narrowly survived an attempt to oust him.

Rauner scored just above the magic 20-percent number in Chicago, a point at which – with a significant advantage in the rest of the state – a Republican can win a statewide election.

But he didn’t really need it. He out-performed Brady’s 2010 campaign in suburban Cook County by 6 points, outdid the Downstater in his own region by a point, and dwarfed Brady’s 2010 numbers throughout the collar counties.

 
Dems Put Rauner in a Bind on Abortion Issue PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 02 November 2014 05:20

I’m going to talk about one of the weirdest things that happened this campaign season.

Earlier this year, ultra-conservative activist Jack Roeser told me that his friend Bruce Rauner believed life began at conception. “I’d describe him as a guy who is a morally right-to-life guy, but not on the hustings,” said Roeser, who has since passed away, about GOP gubernatorial nominee Rauner.

Roeser and many of his right-to-life allies backed Rauner every step of the way, while Rauner, who belatedly admitted that he’s pro-choice, spent much of the Republican primary campaign fighting for term limits and pledging battles with the Springfield Democrats and their teacher-union allies.

The candidate has often said that he has “no social agenda” and would focus solely on cleaning up government and getting the economy running again. But in addition to those factors, he also wanted to avoid stressing the issue for fear of alienating a relatively small but still important base of Republican voters who just won’t vote for a pro-choicer of any party. Every vote counts, especially if you’re a Republican running in Democratic Illinois.

But the issue exploded during the campaign’s final week. Local 150 of the Operating Engineers Union – one of Governor Pat Quinn’s strongest supporters – spent big bucks supporting the unabashedly pro-life, pro-gun Libertarian Party candidate for governor, Chad Grimm. The idea was to siphon votes away from Rauner.

 
Rauner Traps Journalist in Appearance-of-Impropriety Web PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 26 October 2014 05:23

Perhaps the worst thing to happen to journalism over the years is its simplistic over-reliance on the mere “appearance of impropriety” to justify big, splashy stories.

It’s based on the assumption that everybody is corrupt. No actual wrongdoing need ever be found – just something that might look a bit fishy to a reporter’s overly suspicious eyes. There’s no need to prove anything; one or two distant connections is enough to justify destroying somebody’s reputation – which didn’t deserve protection anyway because everybody is evil.

And that brings us to Dave McKinney, who resigned last week as the Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Sun-Times. It was a reversal of what’s become the norm: In this case, a politician caught a journalist in the appearance-of-impropriety web.

 
Union Targets Rauner By Supporting Libertarian PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 19 October 2014 09:44

I wasn’t hugely surprised when Local 150 of the International Union of Operating Engineers earlier this month contributed $30,000 to Chad Grimm, the Illinois Libertarian Party’s candidate for governor.

After all, the union’s president, James M. Sweeney, was out in front of the push to beat Bruce Rauner during the Republican primary. After a stormy meeting with Rauner, who is running on a pledge to allow local areas to opt-in to “right to work” laws, Sweeney demanded that organized labor stop the candidate in his tracks. (The law would give workers the right to not join the unions that negotiated their pay, benefits and working conditions.)

Sweeney’s union contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to state Senator Kirk Dillard’s primary campaign, and kicked in even more to the Fund for Progress & Jobs PAC, which was the vehicle some unions used to inform Republicans that Rauner was a “closet Democrat.”

 
Rauner Hints at His Actual Plan in Debate PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 12 October 2014 05:26

The most important question asked of Bruce Rauner during last week’s gubernatorial debate in Peoria was posed by Jamey Dunn-Thomason of Illinois Issues magazine.

She pointed out that Republican Kansas Governor Sam Brownback had cut taxes across the board on the theory that it would boost the state’s economy. His idea hasn’t worked. What’s happened instead is a huge revenue shortfall, which has forced gigantic state budget cuts and created an economy that now lags behind the rest of the country. So what did Rauner think of Brownback’s policy, Dunn-Thomason asked.

 
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