Thursday, January 4, 2018

Quinn won’t wither away, lack of $$$ won’t stop his political desires

I’m not surprised to learn that former Gov. Pat Quinn, in his political bid to become Illinois attorney general, is lagging far behind the other candidates seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination for the post.

How many candidates have official state portrait?
The reality is that Quinn, in his decades as a candidate for political office, has never been a fantastic fundraiser. If anything, he’s the kind of outspoken guy who ticks off the kind of people who actually make sizable contributions.

HE’S THE KIND of guy who attracts the money of some hard-core political lightweights – the kind of people who might make $20 donations. Piece enough of them together, and you might get a dollar figure of some size.

Then again, one prominent donor or special-interest group can easily cough up the same amount of cash with one contribution check.

The Chicago Tribune reported Wednesday about the amount of money the candidates for attorney general have raised. It shouldn’t be surprising that the guy who’s likely the frontrunner (state Sen. Kwame Raoul of the Hyde Park neighborhood) has the most money.

He had $406,000 already, and managed to raise another $540,000 during the past three months.

BY COMPARISON, QUINN added some $81,000 to the $232,000 he already had in an existing campaign fund.

How pathetic is that? According to the Tribune report, about the only Democratic dreamer for attorney general doing worse is Aaron Goldstein, who reported having $194,000 in contributions – of which about $185,000 is money he donated to himself.

Candidates such as state Rep. Scott Drury, D-Highwood, Chicago Park District President Jesse Ruiz and Highland Park mayor Nancy Rotering all have raised more than the former governor.

RAOUL: The 'big bucks" AG candidate
But as I’ve already implied, this is not a new trend for Quinn – who never has been the big-money candidate with unlimited funds to pay for all the advertising and other stunts that a political campaign engages in to attract attention and try to sway people to actually vote for them.

HE HAS ALWAYS managed to achieve whatever success he has gained on the Illinois political scene by swaying voters that he’s somehow different from the standard-issue government official.

Whether that can continue to work for him remains to be seen. Standard lines of logic would indicate that Quinn’s time has passed. He’s a political has-been who should come to his senses and drop out – be a retired pol who can claim to have achieved the rank of Illinois governor.

Of course, standard lines of logic would indicate that Quinn’s time had passed after his one term as Illinois treasurer. The one that ended after his 1994 defeat for Illinois secretary of state.

Between that electoral loss and his victory paired up with Rod Blagojevich in 2002 as his lieutenant governor running mate, Quinn ran for U.S. Senate seats and the lieutenant governor post on his own and continually lost. Largely because his campaigns were as poorly funded as this campaign appears to be.

BUT QUINN IS the type not easily discouraged. All those losses of the mid-1990s to the early 2000s didn’t discourage him from running again. Just as his 2014 loss to Bruce Rauner and his millions of dollars in personal wealth that he pumped into his campaign doesn’t seem to have discouraged him from trying yet again to be a part of state government.
Anybody can outspend Quinn, not just Rauner

I don’t know if Quinn can actually win. Perhaps he figures there’s so many people on the ballot (eight candidates on the Democratic side) that he figures he could get a quarter of the vote and the other seven could split up the majority into small-enough chunks he could still win.

As for those others, all of them have limited name recognition outside of their home regions. Whether any one of them could catch on with the masses has yet to be determined.

And even if Quinn loses the primary come March 20, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him try running yet again for political office – maybe he’ll go for Illinois comptroller and be able to say he ran for all the statewide constitutional posts. He may be 69 (his birthday was in mid-December) and getting up there in years, but I suspect Quinn is exactly the kind of guy who won’t quit trying to be a part of public policy until the day he passes on.


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