By Mark Wachtler
April 24, 2014. Chicago. (ONN) Illinois Governor Pat Quinn never seems to have a friend or supporter in the whole state. Such is the case for an independent reformer who dove into the Machine, only to be ground up like hamburger. He’s the least popular of 50 Governors, presiding over the worst fiscal state and the murder capital of the nation. He’s running against a multi-millionaire who’s the good buddy of the powerful Mayor of Chicago, and Quinn is somehow still hanging on, and closing the gap.
Gov Pat Quinn (L) and GOP challenger Bruce Rauner (R). Image courtesy of KHMORadio.com.
Governor Pat Quinn is the ultimate and eternal outsider. Even when he’s the Governor, he’s completely at odds with the powers that be. And for frustrated, anti-corruption voters who’ve been big fans of Quinn’s since his early days as a progressive activist and head of the Citizens Utility Board, he’s still considered one of the only honest politicians in Illinois. Call it fate or karma, or maybe even God returning a favor, but the political tide is turning in Pat Quinn’s favor.
The first long-awaited positive sign for the embattled Governor Quinn was the release of the latest election poll. Conducted by Rasmussen, it gave GOP challenger Bruce Rauner a 3 point lead over the Democrat Quinn 43-40 percent. 10 percent are undecided, while 6 percent demanded to choose a third option other than the Democrat or Republican. We thought it odd that the polling agency would report it in that fashion and decided to check and see which third party or independent candidates received 6 percent of the vote.
No luck. Rasmussen won’t release that information. But the wording of their poll question conjures up images of outraged independent voters criticizing pollsters and calling their polls rigged for always refusing to include the opposition party candidates. In the above poll, the exact wording was, "In thinking about the 2014 election for governor of Illinois, suppose you had a choice between Republican Bruce Rauner and Democrat Pat Quinn. If the election were held today, would you vote for Republican Bruce Rauner or Democrat Pat Quinn?" The poll doesn’t even give the option for a third candidate. And still 6 percent of respondents demanded to do so, and did it anyway.
So who were these mysterious Gubernatorial candidates that Rasmussen and the media outlets won’t tell Illinois voters about? One could be the Green Party’s Scott Summers, the party’s candidate for Governor this year. The other could be Chad Grimm, the Libertarian Party’s candidate for Illinois Governor. For more information on either opposition candidate, because you won’t read or hear about them anywhere else, read the Illinois Herald articles, ‘IL Green Party announces Candidate Slate for 2014 Election’ and ‘IL Libertarians launch Ballot Drive for 2014 Candidates’.
The reason the latest poll showing Illinois Governor Pat Quinn trailing his GOP opponent Bruce Rauner by 3% is important is because three months ago, Quinn was trailing by 8%. The initial love affair of Rauner by the local corporate media outlets appears to be wearing off on some. Chances are, they won’t be the last to come back to the Governor’s side before November.
Pat Quinn is suddenly playing hardball with both Speaker Madigan and Chicago Mayor Emanuel, who together could probably guarantee his re-election if they wanted to. Between casinos, pension funding, the expiring state income tax, and a host of other seriously important issues, Governor Quinn is holding his signature hostage and preventing the most powerful politicians in Illinois and Chicago from getting what they want, and in some cases, need.
Take the Chicago Democratic Machine for example. This Governor’s race has fractured it all over the place and turned the Cook County Democratic Party into a temporary free-for-all. The progressives and the leadership are sticking by Quinn. But the black ministers and the remnants of the Daley Machine are helping Rauner. Just don’t tell anyone, it’s supposed to be a secret. Even Mayor Emanuel is good friends with the GOP candidate and the two share a remarkably similar political platform.
But Emanuel needs Quinn to save the Chicago pension system. And there’s no way a poverty-stricken black community in Chicago will ever vote for a white multi-millionaire Republican, especially after being reminded that Pat Quinn was an early ally and dedicated staffer of the late Mayor Harold Washington. And last but not least, don’t forget about the unions. As much as they beat up on Governor Quinn for not being 100% on their side, he’s actually closer to 90% on their side. And with a choice between a union-busting Republican who will probably wipe out their jobs and their benefits, or a pro-labor Governor who asks them to contribute a couple percent to save their own pensions, the choice is obvious.
The point of the trend, the polls and the word in the precincts is that if the margin between Governor Quinn and Republican challenger Rauner is only 3%, and the majority of the Governor’s disenfranchised voters haven’t come back yet, but will, then Pat Quinn’s chances of getting re-elected this November are looking pretty good.
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