By Natasha Korecki
Boosted by a healthy campaign fund and disarray in a Democratic-controlled Springfield, Republican venture capitalist Bruce Rauner officially announced he is in the race for governor.
"I'm running for governor, to turn this state around," a video on his campaign Web site says.
The timing couldn't be better for the Republican who is trying to sell himself as an outsider as Illinois' Democratic-controlled state government implodes. Rauner, 57, of Winnetka, is building a narrative as a self-made millionaire and successful businessman who can get the state out of the mess its in because he wasn't part of creating it.
"I'm a husband, father of six, businessman, and the grandson of a Downstate dairyman who taught me to love the outdoors. I could ride a horse at 6 and milk a cow at 8 and fire a rifle at 10," Rauner said in a professionally-made video on his Web site. "I started out flipping burgers and parking cars and I helped build a start-up company into a successful business. I've met payrolls and made tough decisions. Typical politicians: they can't and they won't."
The announcement comes on the heels of gross inaction in Springfield by Democrats, who control both chambers of the state legislature as well as the governor's mansion. Democrats are still scrambling to come up with a deal to reform public pensions after the state's bond rating was downgraded.
Over the last three months, Rauner has made 65 stops around the state for a "listening tour." His campaign is planning another dozen stops in upcoming weeks. On Thursday, Rauner is expected to visit Caterpillar in Peoria.