February 18, 2014

Illinois Democrats look to unseat own Governor for a Republican

By Mark Wachtler

February 18, 2014. Chicago. (ONN) Illinois repeatedly proves the accusation that there is little or no difference between the Democratic and Republican parties and this year’s Governor’s race is no different. This time around, the state’s independents are carrying the Democrat, the Democrats are supporting the Republican and the Republicans are about to nominate a Democrat.

Illinois' 2014 Republican Gubernatorial candidates at a recent debate. Image courtesy of TheRepublic.com.

To help readers keep score since the local Chicago news media is being its typical less-than-independent self, we’ve summarized the five establishment party candidates for 2014 Illinois Governor’s race below. Opposition party candidates like the Greens and Libertarians will be reported on later, once their respective parties have chosen their own nominees.

Illinois 2014 Governor’s race

*Current poll numbers in parentheses and provided by Chicago Tribune/WGN survey.


  • Pat Quinn (no polls): Current Illinois Governor, opposed by the Chicago Democratic Machine, an ‘independent Democrat’, not necessarily a ‘reform Democrat’. Quinn is supported by labor unions, African Americans and independents.


  • Bruce Rauner (40%): Suburban multi-millionaire venture capitalist, supported by the Wall Street wings of both the Democratic and Republican Parties, the Chicago Democratic Machine’s second choice after Rutherford.
  • Bill Brady (20%): Current State Rep, 2010 GOP candidate for Governor, lost to Quinn, supported by downstate conservative Republicans.
  • Dan Rutherford (13%): Current State Treasurer, Mitt Romney’s 2012 IL campaign chair, supported by the Chicago Democratic Machine and the establishment wing of the GOP.
  • Kirk Dillard (11%): Current State Rep, lost to Brady for nomination in 2010, supported by moderate suburban Republicans.

The most telling and damning part of this whole scenario is the fact that the Democratic Party is actively working to defeat its own sitting Governor and replace him with a Republican simply because he’s a little too honest and not allowing the Machine to control the Governor’s mansion from the South Side of Chicago. The last time a Democratic Illinois Governor tried to cut off the Chicago Machine, it was Rod Blagojevich, and we all saw what his patrons and fellow Dems did to punish him for making that mistake.

Primary score card

The Illinois primary election will take place March 18, 2014. The Democratic nomination is locked up by Governor Pat Quinn simply because he’s the incumbent Governor, albeit the least popular Governor in the nation. But that’s probably only because he has both establishment parties targeting him with an assist from the local corporate news outlets.

On the Republican side, voters appear to be following the lead set for them by the local news media who anointed multi-millionaire Bruce Rauner as the GOP nominee before he even announced his candidacy. Surely, the promise of millions upon millions of advertising dollars being dropped in the for-profit networks’ laps by the suburban multi-millionaire had nothing to do with it. And as the above-referenced poll from two weeks ago confirms, Rauner is already pulling in as many voters as all of his GOP opponents combined.

Primary predictions - Quinn vs. Rauner

With the Chicago Democratic Machine backing Republican State Treasurer Dan Rutherford, they may find themselves without a candidate even before the March Primary. Rutherford’s poll numbers have crashed since an employee of the Treasurer’s office accused him of sexual harassment and forcing him to perform political work on state time. It doesn’t help that Rutherford has long been quietly accused of being a gay Republican, which most know doesn’t go over very well with religiously conservative voters.

Rutherford’s mounting scandals have sunk his campaign even before his backing by the Chicago Democratic Machine was exposed, and it would have been if the State Treasurer would have posed a serious challenge. It was well-known, decades-long Machine Democrats that circulated Rutherford’s ballot petitions and are campaigning hard for him in the exclusively Democratic middle class precincts of Chicago.

Even with his scandals and homophobic voter base, Rutherford is still out-polling State Rep Kirk Dillard. Dillard finished second to Brady four years ago in the same race for Governor and was widely considered to drop out long ago and throw his support behind Brady. The two have the same grassroots Republican voter base, with Brady’s being downstate and Dillard’s being in the upstate suburbs. If Dillard drops out, the voters who want the “most electable Republican” will move to Rauner. But the ideological Republicans will support Brady. In reality, Dillard’s numbers are so low, his support won’t make a difference.

That leaves the race for the GOP nomination between the much-liked Republican career politician with a solid voter base (Brady) and the Wall Street citizen-candidate outsider with millions of dollars to spend (Rauner). As the WGN/Tribune poll showed, Rauner currently has almost as much support as all of his opponents combined. But there’s still exactly one month before the primary for an ‘October Surprise’ against one or both candidates. Our prediction is that the multi-millionaire Rauner will win with the never-ending support of the local news media and his own advertising dollars.

Rage against the Machine

That means that accompanying the probable Libertarian and Green candidates will be an incumbent Democrat being supported by independents against a Republican being supported by Wall Street Democrats like his good friend and powerful Democrat Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Notice anyone conspicuously missing?

The Chicago Democratic Machine won’t have a candidate in the race. The independent Democrat Quinn despises the Chicago Machine and the feeling is mutual. Republican Rauner has funded and supported Democrats, like Emanuel, in the past and shows no sign that he’d stop the ‘pay-to-play’ Chicago way now. So, we predict the Democratic Machine will openly throw its weight behind the Republican Rauner and the state will complete its journey to ‘bizarro world’ with Democrats unseating their own Governor to elect a Republican.

A number of facts and trends already point to a Quinn defeat, regardless of who the Republican nominee is. The same recent poll showed that if the election were held today, Quinn would lose to all four of the GOP’s potential nominees. The only thing that can save the incumbent Illinois Governor now is if he can produce a literal October surprise and expose some devastating skeletons in Rauner’s closet. And with the first-time-candidate being an unvetted unknown quantity at this point, anything’s possible.

All the current Governor has left are the independents, unions and the entire African American community. And that just won’t be enough against the combined power of the Wall Street Democrats, Chicago Machine Democrats, and Illinois’ entire GOP. We predict that Republican Bruce Rauner will win the March Primary and also the November General Election. And if Illinoisians like what President Obama and Mayor Emanuel have done, they’ll be getting a lot more of the same. Which should be enlightening to the average naïve citizen considering they’re supposed to be two different parties.


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