The Illinois governor, who had hoped he was finished with dealing with the conservative wing of the Republican Party when he narrowly beat state Sen. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, in the March primary, isn’t going to get away so easily.
FOR NOW, IT seems, we’re going to have William “Sam” McCann, a state senator from an unincorporated part of Macoupin County in Southern Illinois, declaring himself to be the Conservative Party’s candidate for governor.
The party doesn’t have a ballot slot, and there are those who question if they can get enough signatures of support on nominating petitions so that McCann and Aaron Merreighn for lieutenant governor to even be on the general election ballot.
But Rauner is going out of his way to denigrate the McCann/Merreighn ticket. On Thursday, the governor said McCann’s candidacy is “being used as a pawn” by Madigan and Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker.
When a reporter-type person tried to get Rauner to clarify what he meant, he promptly repeated himself, saying McCann “is being used by Pritzker and Madigan, and we’re going to win in November.”
BASICALLY, IT SEEMS the answer to any question anybody asks Rauner about anything is “blame Madigan!” Failing, he seems, to realize that no matter how little favorability the House speaker and Democratic Party chairman has, the governor himself is liked by even fewer people.
Take the fact that McCann, who has spent the past eight years as a state senator from a part of Illinois where Chicago’s existence doesn’t even factor and even St. Louis (which is less than an hour’s drive away) is considered alien, even feels compelled to run for governor.
His Conservative Party label is meant to be a place for those individuals who absolutely can’t get themselves behind a Rauner re-election bid AND who feel nothing in common with the modern-day Democratic Party in Illinois.
|MADIGAN: Last laugh?|
PERHAPS SUCH RHETORIC ought to be evidence why Rauner ought not to get anyone’s vote for re-election.
But is the line of campaign talk that Rauner seems to have settled into, and we’re bound to hear versions of this lack of logic over and over between now and Election Day in November.
McCann, in a statement he issued in response to Rauner, said the governor, “resorted to petty attacks and name-calling.” While the Chicago Tribune reported that McCann said Rauner is, “a lying liar who lies.”
Of course, part of the reason that Rauner may have been eager to resort to nonsense talk on Thursday is that it was his first public appearance in Chicago since his return from a 12-day journey to Germany and Poland.
RAUNER WAS SUPPOSED to be meeting with corporate types whom, presumably, he might be using his influence on to get them to bring business to Illinois.
The most specific thing Rauner had to say about his trip was that there’d be, “several really exciting announcements” to be made in coming weeks. Which almost makes it seem like the governor took a vacation trip at state expense, and maybe he’ll have a slide presentation to show us once the pictures are developed.
So instead, he chose to go after the fringe candidate who threatens to make Rauner the fringe candidate come Nov. 6; splitting up the segment of Illinois society that looks to the Republican Party for its Election Day choices.
With this kind of rhetoric, all I have to say is that it will take quite a significant screw-up on the part of the Pritzker campaign for them to avoid having to hold a victory celebration once the ballots are counted – with Madigan having the “last laugh” about all the pot shots being taken these days against him.