Tags: Bruce Rauner

The Coming Republican Takeover of . . . Illinois?


How will President Obama feel when a Republican wins the governor’s race in his home state of Illinois?

Gov. Pat Quinn is facing an increasingly uphill battle against Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner, a new We Ask America poll shows.

Rauner is now sitting on a 14-point lead in the poll that was conducted July 28, which is up from his 10-point lead he had in a June poll. Rauner’s boost can be attributed to his economic plan, which includes a state income tax reduction. A poll showed while people don’t believe Illinois can afford this plan, a majority say it makes them more likely to vote for him.

Reboot Illinois, which was founded by hedge fund manager Anne Dias Griffin, commissioned the poll by We Ask America, an independent polling subsidiary of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association.

Overall, if the election were held today, Rauner would pull in 47 percent of the vote, compared to Quinn’s 33 percent. Of those polled, 20 percent said they’re still undecided.

All 118 seats in the Illinois house of representatives and about one-third of the state-senate seats will also be on the ballot this year. Democrats have a 40-to-19 margin in the senate and a 71-to-47 margin in the house. But a big win by Rauner could create coattails, and it appears he and his campaign are investing money in an effort to make that happen:

Crain’s Chicago Business columnist Greg Hinz:

Thanks to heavy spending by wealthy gubernatorial nominee Bruce Rauner — and disgust within the GOP that it let the governor’s mansion slip away four years ago despite the Rod Blagojevich scandal — Illinois Republicans appear to be disciplined, organized and moving to win in a way they haven’t been in decades. And the Democrats know it.

One insider tells me that a combination of the state and national parties and the Rauner campaign is prepared to spend as much as $2 million just on an absentee ballot operation — perhaps seven or eight times as much as in 2010, when Republican state Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington lost to Gov. Pat Quinn.

Another source reports that the party has opened 20 field offices just in the collar counties. In comparison, Mr. Brady had three offices in the entire state.

Notice the momentum and bandwagon effect:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie came to Chicago Friday and gave Republican Bruce Rauner $2.5 million.

With that the Republican Governors Association more than doubled its financial support of Rauner’s campaign for governor.

Tags: Illinois , Pat Quinn , Bruce Rauner

Illinois Governor’s Anti-Crime Program May Have Committed Crimes


Elsewhere in today’s Jolt, an update on the organized-crime organization commonly referred to as the Illinois state government:

Illinois Governor’s Anti-Crime Program May Have Committed Crimes

Indictments of Illinois governors: it’s not a question of “if,” but “when” and “for what”!

In this case, there are allegations of Pat Quinn using state funds to run a slush fund to award his allies. Even by Illinois standards, this looks pretty brazen:

Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez issued a sweeping grand jury subpoena seeking records tied to Gov. Pat Quinn’s troubled Neighborhood Initiative Program – including those for a grant involving the husband of Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown.

The Sun-Times previously reported that almost seven percent of the $2.1 million in funds given to the Chicago Area Project meant to combat crime in West Garfield Park went to Brown’s husband, Benton Cook III . . . 

The state’s Auditor General, William Holland, slammed the program in a February audit, saying Quinn’s administration didn’t “adequately monitor” how state grant dollars were spent or on whom; community organizations that hired people with those funds weren’t maintaining time sheets; and city aldermen dictated where funding was to be steered.

Political opponents likened the program to a “political slush fund.” The Quinn administration has said the program was set up in response to a violent summer over 2010 and later, in 2012, the governor supported legislation that moved oversight of the program from the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority to the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority.

This is the detail that a previous Illinois governor might have called golden: “In his review, Holland further found that the state did not allow for a competitive, open application for the money and instead sought recommendations from Chicago aldermen as to what community organizations should get money in the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative program.”

Gee. The governor takes a pile of money and claims it’s for crime prevention, and then asks a bunch of Chicago alderman where to spend it? Who could have foreseen something going wrong with that plan?

There is a better option, Illinois voters. His name is Bruce Rauner, and he’s the GOP nominee. Today he’s announcing his campaign has collected “590,000 signatures in support of a ballot measure that would ask voters whether term limits should be introduced.”

Think about it, you might see some Illinois governors leaving their offices not wearing handcuffs.

Only one poll has been conducted this month; it put Rauner up by 3.

Tags: Bruce Rauner , Pat Quinn , Illinois

House Races Developing in West Virginia, California, Florida


A quick roundup of some of the news around the country in races for the U.S. House of Representatives:

ILLINOIS: Representative Aaron Schock, a third-year Illinois Republican and one of the youngest members of Congress, announced he will not be running for governor in 2014 and will instead run for reelection.

The GOP field for governor in the Land of Lincoln may include state treasurer Dan Rutherford, state senator Kirk Dillard, and wealthy businessman and investor Bruce Rauner.

WEST VIRGINIA: When Representative Shelley Moore Capito (R., W.Va.) announced plans to run for U.S. Senate, she set the stage for tough primary fights in both parties for the opportunity to replace her in the U.S. House. On the Democratic side, former Democratic-party chairman Nick Casey, state senator Herb Snyder, and Delegate Doug Skaff Jr. are considering bids. The Republican names mentioned most frequently are house minority leader Tim Armstead, former state senator Steve Harrison, Delegate Patrick Lane, and Delegate Eric Nelson. Former delegate Larry Faircloth and former state senator Steve Harrison have made their interest clear.

MASSACHUSETTS: Bay State Democrats will choose a senatorial nominee on Tuesday, and odds are likely that a House seat will open up. Democrats will nominate either Representative Ed Markey or Representative Stephen Lynch. Gabriel E. Gomez, former U.S. Attorney Michael J. “Mike” Sullivan, and state representative Dan Winslow are running on the GOP side.

State senator Karen Spilka said on Thursday she is “seriously considering” running for Congress if Markey wins the Senate seat. Markey’s district is a particularly tough one for Republicans, scoring D+16 in the Cook Partisan Voting Index.

CALIFORNIA: The Golden State’s 31st congressional district is going to see one crowded Democratic primary. Lawyer Eloise Gomez Reyes announced Saturday that she will be running against the incumbent, Republican representative Gary Miller. The primary field includes former representative Joe Baca, Redlands mayor Pete Aguilar, and San Bernardino school-board member Danny Tillman. This is one of the few swing districts in California, scoring D+2 in the Cook Partisan Voting Index.

FLORIDA: Bill Posey, the Republican who represents Brevard County on Florida’s Space Coast, has a new challenger, Democrat Corry Westbrook. (You can tell this is a heavily Republican district because the word ‘Democrat’ does not appear on Westbrook’s web site.) She is a former legislative director for the National Wildlife Federation.

Tags: Aaron Schock , Dan Rutherford , Kirk Dillard , Bruce Rauner

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