The early target in the race for the Republican primary for governor is “the rich guy.”
Bruce Rauner, the wealthy head of a private equity firm, is poised to spend millions of his own money, so his Republican rivals want to soften him up early. State Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale), who’s not officially in the race yet but will be this summer, says Rauner isn’t really a Republican.
“Bruce Rauner, while running in a Republican primary, has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to (former Chicago) Mayor (Richard M.) Daley, Democrat members of Congress including Jan Schakowsky and Bill Foster, and hundreds of thousands of dollars to Democrat governors nationwide,” he said.
State Treasurer Dan Rutherford, also running for governor, criticized Rauner for making his campaign announcement via a video on his website, Rutherford making the point that he meets the public and the press face-to-face.
Meanwhile, former Governor Jim Edgar is full of free advice for the state’s Republicans.
The former governor dares to use three C words few people today may associate with his party. “We need to be willing to compromise, we need to be civil, and we need to be compassionate,” says Edgar, advocating a “strong two-party system.”
Edgar, who has been out of office for 15 years, says there simply are not enough Republican voters in the state. “You’ve got to have independents, and you’ve got to have some Democrats (vote for you if you are going to win) in the general election.”
Edgar says the attorney general, Lisa Madigan, will be formidable but not unbeatable if she runs for governor. He says years of poor results under 12 years of Democratic governors, as well as any stigma from being named Madigan, could hurt her.
The attorney general’s father is the speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives and also the chairman of the state’s Democratic Party.
Edgar, who is from Charleston, would also like to see some Downstate representation, pointing out the governor and two top legislative leaders are all Chicagoans.