November 17, 2013. Wheaton. With Chicago Machine politicians Lisa Madigan and Bill Daley out of the race for Governor, it looks like it’s going to come down to Gov. Pat Quinn and one of two Republican candidates already positioning themselves for the 2014 General Election. One couldn’t be more of an establishment insider, while the other couldn’t be more of a Wall Street outsider.
Wheaton City Councilwoman & GOP candidate for Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti. Image courtesy of BruceRauner.com.
When Governor Quinn picked Paul Vallas to be his running mate for Lt. Governor in the upcoming 2014 election, he at least chose a partner who knows how to fight politically. Vallas is nationally known as Mr. Fix It for reviving school districts devastated by natural disasters. Quinn’s going to need the help because two of his potential Republican opponents are already making moves that will guarantee a close fight come November.
The field of Republican candidates for Governor appears to be narrowing down to four individuals. And two of them are most likely already pulling ahead. Republican State Senator Bill Brady, who lost to Quinn four years ago, has an ever-shrinking base. While another also-ran four years ago, GOP State Senator Kirk Dillard, hasn’t seen any traction at all this time around.
That leaves two candidates, each with the intelligence and resources to defeat the unpopular Democratic Governor. With this being Illinois, they both have major connections to the Democratic Party. And they’re both using their Democratic support to drain the Democrat Quinn of much of his desperately needed base.
Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford is undoubtedly the most politically connected Republican in the state of Illinois. In 2008, as a lowly State Senator, he was chosen by Mitt Romney and the national Republican establishment to head up the Romney campaign here in the Land of Lincoln. He then used that connection to win the seat of Illinois Treasurer. Now, he wants to be Governor. And he may just do it.
Proving he is the ultimate insider, Rutherford not only enjoys the GOP establishment’s backing. But he is also savvy enough to quietly enlist the support of as many disenfranchised Chicago Democrats as he can get his hands on. Some of them openly circulated his nominating petitions. And when you talk to these rank and file Democratic Machine precinct captains, they’re serious. They despise Pat Quinn and according to them, they’d rather have a Republican Governor that plays ball than another four years of the ‘Ralph Nader of Chicago’ Pat Quinn.
Taking a large chunk of Quinn’s Democratic Machine base in Chicago will cut into the votes from his stronghold. Quinn won four years ago for no other reason than because he carried Chicago so overwhelmingly, thanks to independents, non-Machine Democrats and the black community. If combining the Democratic Machine with the Republican Wall Street establishment doesn’t result in victory for Rutherford, then maybe the people of Illinois really are ready for change.
If Dan Rutherford is the ultimate insider, then Bruce Rauner is the ultimate outsider. He’s an actual citizen-candidate and the only one of the five that isn’t an elected official in Springfield right now. That means he’s the only one that can position himself as not responsible for the mess the state is in. The multi-millionaire fund manager is also rising in the polls. More important than anything, he recently made two announcements that will each rock the election.
The first ingenious move Bruce Rauner made was to announce his running mate as Wheaton City Councilwoman Evelyn Sanguinetti. As an established, female, Hispanic Republican, she’s the medicine every GOP damage control specialist has prescribed for the party at large. Even more, she’s lived the storybook ‘rags to riches’ life as a child refuge from Cuba. Sanguinetti grew up in poverty, on food stamps and living a life far too few Republicans have any concept of.
“She has the talent and guts to take on the lobbyists, special interests, and career politicians that are destroying this state and eliminating opportunities for the next generation,” Rauner’s campaign website quotes him saying of his new running mate.
Evelyn Sanguinetti chimed in adding, “I’m proof that with hard work, a good education and an opportunity anyone from anywhere can make it. Unfortunately, too many in Illinois who have backgrounds that look a whole lot like mine aren’t being given access to a quality education or that opportunity to succeed. I understand firsthand how the policies pushed by the career politicians are failing us and that’s why I’m excited to run with Bruce Rauner to transform Illinois.”
The second important move GOP candidate Bruce Rauner made was waiting until the last minute to donate his campaign $500,000 of his own money. That brings the total of his own personal donations to $750,000 and according to Illinois state law, releases the rest of his opponents to also take unlimited contributions until the March Primary. Until now, candidates could only accept donations of up to $5,300 from individuals and $52,600 from PAC’s.
Recipe for success
Rauner’s fellow Republican opponents have blasted him, accusing the multi-millionaire of not having any real support and needing to buy the election. It’s no secret that much of the Illinois Republican Party hates Bruce Rauner. He’s a close backer of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and he’s contributed large sums to Democratic candidates in the past.
But Rauner is doing what even the RNC’s own post-election report suggested earlier this year. He’s positioning himself as a social moderate and an energetic supporter of the Hispanic community and the working class. If the wealthy investment manager can get enough Democrats and independents to cross over and vote Republican in the primary, Rauner could win the nomination. And with Rahm Emanuel and much of the Democratic Machine’s support in November, coupled with enough Hispanic votes, Bruce Rauner could easily beat the unpopular independent Democrat Quinn.
Rauner’s recipe for success is the mirror opposite of Mitt Romney’s recipe for failure in the 2012 Presidential election. Romney was a moderate that could have done well in the General Election. But he drifted far to the right to win the Republican nomination. Bruce Rauner is doing the opposite. He’s moving far to the center and positioning himself for an easy victory in November, if he can just get past the social conservatives in the Primary.
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