Monday, February 24, 2014

It’s going to get ugly – as in the ’14 campaign cycle for Illinois governor!

RAUNER: Can he take a punch?
I’m sure that Bruce Rauner, the venture capitalist-turned-political rookie, is feeling pretty cocky these days.

With just one week to go before people can start casting their ballots (through Early Voting measures), the polls show him with a solid lead.

NONE OF HIS challengers has the kind of financing to close the gap. And probably the only way that Rauner blows the Republican primary is if EVERY SINGLE UNDECIDED VOTER were to unite behind one challenger AND if another candidate were to drop out.

It’s an unlikely combination.

There’s just one thing that ought to keep Rauner backers (who really are just those who have become so malcontent with the past decade of Democratic Party influence over state government that they’ll vote for anyone with an “R” after his name) from getting too giddy these days.

The reality of the Republican primary is that it consists of Rauner’s personal cash allowing him to buy public attention against two past gubernatorial losers AND a guy whose statewide profile was so low that he can be taken down with all the cheap talk going about these days about “sexual” harassment.

RAUNER ISN’T EXACTLY beating a top quality field of candidates in his primary. They might be more reputable than Gov. Pat Quinn’s lone challenger in the Democratic Party primary, but not by much!

If anybody thinks that the Rauner campaign can coast on the momentum it seems to be building now, they’re misguided.

It’s not that I think Pat Quinn is some overly-tough persona. He can be as mealy-mouthed as any other political person, particularly when he tries to lay on the populist rhetoric that claims he’s a man of the people and everybody else is the political "hack."

QUINN: Lacing up the gloves
But I got my share of amusement from learning Saturday that Quinn has hired for his campaign Bill Hyers, a political operative whose most recent accomplishment was getting Bill DiBlasio elected as mayor of New York.

ALONG WITH PAST victories that helped get Barack Obama elected as president – particularly running the Pennsylvania for Obama effort of 2012 that ensured the president had enough of the Electoral College votes to actually win. And yes, he's an Illinois native -- albeit not one of Chicago.

Quinn is putting his political future in the hands of people who know what a competitive campaign is and how to win them. There won’t be any talk about “fighting the good fight” in a noble defeat.

It’s fortunate for him that Rauner has a significant personal financial wealth, because he’s probably going to have to go through a lot of his own money just to keep up with the attacks he’s now going to get.

In fact, I wonder if Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis summarized the theme last week when she criticized Rauner as “egotistical and rich.”

SO AS TO differentiate him from herself. It could be the line whose essence gets repeated over and over until by November we’re so sick of hearing about the pompous boob that we vote against him just to be rid of him.

It doesn’t help that Rauner seems overly touchy to criticism; such as the instance involving campaign ads by the Illinois Freedom PAC. Rauner’s is the campaign that sent intimidating-reading “cease and desist” letters to area television stations carrying the commercials.

Personally, I think WLS-TV should be commented for immediately having their attorneys send Rauner’s campaign a letter refusing to give in to his request.

It makes me wonder how intensely Rauner will blow up once the Quinn people start smacking him about in ways that his Republican challengers never had the kind of campaign cash to dream of doing themselves.

COMBINED WITH THE fact that for many of the people backing the other three candidates in the GOP primary, Rauner is the absolute last guy they want to see get their political party’s nomination.

Even if he is the one who has the kind of finances on his own to deliver political blows – which will come across as the usual partisan tripe – to the incumbent governor.

He is perceived as being way-too Chicago oriented (a friend of Rahm Emanuel, and he willingly had his daughter attend a school in Chicago). Much of the desire to dump Democrat Quinn of Chicago’s West Side comes from those whose focus is on rural Illinois.

The fight for Illinois governor in the Nov. 4 general election could easily be perceived as the Chicago battle – which Quinn wins easily because Rauner won’t take enough votes from the governor in the city, and all those downstate GOPers just won’t be able to get excited about to cast enough ballots for him to win!


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