If there were any doubt before last week, there's zero uncertainty now: Governor Bruce Rauner won't allow anyone else to interfere with his dominance of the Illinois Republican Party.
When the party was out of power for 12 years, several independent actors were always trying to influence elections from behind the scenes, elbowing people out, putting people in. This is a diverse state, and the party has numerous factions, both economic and social. All of those factions have de facto leaders.
One of those independent actors has been Ron Gidwitz, a moderate, wealthy business executive and one-time gubernatorial candidate with a network that includes lots of his rich friends. He ran the moneyed wing of the party.
Gidwitz used his and his friends' money to boost candidates who were to his liking. He backed Senator Kirk Dillard for governor in 2010, for instance, then switched his allegiance to Bruce Rauner four years later. That move did more to hurt Dillard than it did to help the mainly self-funding Rauner, because it totally dried up Dillard's money, leaving him unable to effectively compete until organized labor finally entered the race on his behalf.
After months of public silence, Gidwitz re-emerged last week. Sources say he has been bad-mouthing U.S. Senator Mark Kirk behind the scenes for quite a while. A recent Michael Sneed item in the Chicago Sun-Times about an anonymous top Republican who wanted Kirk to step down from the Senate was widely pinned on him.