Republican businessman Bruce Rauner has held a steady lead over incumbent Illinois governor Pat Quinn for most of this campaign season, but now the race seems to be tightening a bit.
A Reboot Illinois/We Ask America poll conducted Tuesday found Rauner up just more than eight points, after leading by 14 points in July. The pollster said the inclusion of Libertarian candidate Chad Grimm in its polling for the first time may account for Rauner’s lessening lead, but the decline may seems to have also coincided increasing attacks on Rauner as a rich and out-of-touch Republican.
Several newspapers have picked up a story indicating that Rauner belongs to a private wine club, possibly Napa Valley Reserve, that costs six figures to join. The Chicago Tribune splashed a 2010 photo of Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel carrying a bottle from the reserve alongside Rauner, and the Washington Post headlined an article about the situation, “Bruce Rauner spends more on wine than average Illinois households spend on everything.”
While the Chicago Sun-Times got Rauner to admit he is a member of such a club, and he didn’t deny the association, the Post noted it’s unclear if Rauner would be a paying member. Instead, it’s possible he acquired his membership because he was one of the founding investors in a vineyard that was started by the founder of Napa Valley Reserve.
Regardless of what Rauner’s shelling out on wine, incumbent governor Quinn has sought to capitalize on the issue by living on minimum wage for one week. Quinn told the Sun-Times living on the minimum wage has been hard — he had to choose to order water instead of iced tea when dining out this week, for instance. “I had graham crackers — for dinner I guess,” Quinn said. “I’m planning to have macaroni and cheese tonight. I already bought it.”
The Rauner campaign has planned a lunch with former Florida governor Jeb Bush for later this month. While Bush’s appearance will likely lead to more speculation that he could be accumulating chits for a 2016 run, Rauner is probably looking to benefit from Jeb’s reputation as a business-first, reform-minded Republican.