Grassroots Republicans in Illinois have shown just how displeased they are with Governor Bruce Rauner by drafting state representative Jeanne Ives to challenge him in the March 2018 gubernatorial primary. Ives, a Republican representing the Chicago suburb of Wheaton, is the latest intraparty challenger to Rauner’s seat, joining former state comptroller and Chicago mayoral candidate William J. Kelly, who declared in May.
“He has basically discredited himself as a Republican,” Ives told Chicago-area PBS affiliate WTTW. “He’s signed into law very extreme measures. The man who said he had no social agenda ended up having only a social agenda.”
Rauner’s increased focus on progressive social issues — including expanding protections against deporting illegal immigrants and increasing funding to Chicago public schools amid a budget crisis — has been alienating him from his Republican base over the past several years, but perhaps the most serious blow to his chances at winning reelection is the reprehensible pro-choice bill he signed in September. The bill expanded taxpayer-funded abortions through Medicaid beyond cases of rape, incest, or where the health of the mother is threatened and omitted a “trigger” law that would make abortion illegal should the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade. Illinois Right to Life estimated the expansion would contribute to 12,000 additional abortions per year.
If she were presented with a repeal of the pro-choice bill, Ives said, she would sign it “immediately.”