Chicago Sun-Times
Staff reports on all things politics - from City Hall to Springfield to Washington, D.C.

Recently in governor Category

By Natasha Korecki
Political Reporter

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.

Bill Daley giving "a lot of thought" to running for governor

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Bill Daley told a crowd of more than 200 this morning that he's still considering a run for governor.

"I am giving it a lot of thought," he said.

Daley, the brother of the former Chicago Mayor and former chief of staff to President Obama, told reporters after a benefit breakfast at Misericordia he hadn't done any fund-raising and hasn't had any discussions with powerful Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Daley and David Axelrod talked in a panel discussion this morning that was moderated by longtime political writer Jim Warren.

"I think people have great interest in the state of the state.
Many people have said they would be supportive if I decided to do
this. I'm giving it serious thought," Daley said after the event.
"Most of it is personal right now, whether this is what I want to do at
this stage in my life. I've been fortunate to be around politics and
government my whole life. I understand... how difficult it is for
families and this is a difficult time."

Asked how he was spending his days now after stepping down last year as Obama's chief of staff, Daley said he's studying up on whether he should make a run.

"I'm doing a lot of things that go into making a decision. ... I'm talking to a lot of
friends and elected officials and people who are involved in community
activities and getting their sense of what is needed and whether or
not in the end I think I can add something to the debate. As I've said
repeatedly, Pat Quinn is a very decent, honest guy who came in at a
tough time but who has been there for 12 years as the number one or
number two elected official in the state."

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was at the event, too, giving opening remarks, razzing Axelrod for looking "naked" without a mustache and continuing in an ongoing back and forth with Sister Rosemary of Misericordia over taking away the not-for-profit's free water. Sister Rosemary roasted Emanuel a year earlier over the issue and toasted to him with a water-filled cup today.

Emanuel handed her a gallon of water.

Sun-Times Photo

SPRINGFIELD-With only one in four Illinois voters approving his job performance, Gov. Pat Quinn is the least popular in the country and would lose in head-to-head pairings against two of three Republicans eying his job in 2014, a newly commissioned survey found Thursday.

The Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling firm found that just 25 percent of voters in Illinois approved of the work Quinn is doing, while 64 percent disapprove of his job performance -- a level of support that the company said made him "the most unpopular governor [it] has polled on anywhere in the country this year."

If a general election were held today, Quinn would lose to state Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale) by a 44- to 37-percent margin and to state Treasurer Dan Rutherford by a 43- to 39-percent margin, the firm reported.

If matched up against U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.), another Republican considering a run for governor, Quinn would win narrowly by a 40- to 39-percent spread.

"Quinn's unpopularity puts the Republicans in a position where they could win despite the fact that none of them are very well known," said Tom Jensen, director of Public Policy Polling.

An aide to Quinn defended his tenure and acknowledged his efforts at dealing with difficult subjects, like Medicaid reform, facility closures and tax increases, have not been popular -- even if they are in the best interests of state government.

"Gov. Quinn is doing what's right for Illinois and to make our state a better place," Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said. "After decades of fiscal mismanagement and two corrupt governors in a row, Illinois now has no-nonsense ethics laws, a shrinking unemployment rate and less discretionary spending than ever before because of Gov. Quinn.

"He's leading the state in its most difficult moment. What's required right now is a lot of hard decisions and bold leadership, and it's not easy and immediately popular but we're doing what's right," she said.

In a September poll released by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, Quinn's approval rating stood at 42 percent, up a notch from a 35.5 percent approval rating recorded by the institute in October 2011.

Beyond measuring how Quinn might match up against potential Republican opponents, the Public Policy Polling survey also showed the governor is vulnerable in a primary, though no Democrat has stepped forward and openly declared he or she is planning to take on Quinn in 2014.

The firm found that Quinn would trail Bill Daley, the ex-U.S. Commerce Secretary and former Mayor Richard M. Daley's brother, by a 37- to 34-percent margin, and the spread would be even wider if Attorney General Lisa Madigan would take on Quinn, the firm said.

In a hypothetical matchup, Quinn would trailer her by a 64- to 20-percent deficit.

The firm also sized up the growing GOP field aiming to unseat Quinn.

Rutherford is on top of the pack with 19 percent of Republican respondents saying he is their first choice. Schock is second with 18 percent, and 2010 GOP gubernatorial nominee Bill Brady pulled in 14 percent.

As the list goes on, Dillard has 12 percent; 8 percent favored departing U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) and 7 percent chose businessman Bruce Rauner, an investor in Wrapports LLC, the parent company of the Chicago Sun-Times.

PPP Release IL 112912

fire_madigan_dog_tshirt.jpegCLEARWATER, FL - If a Republican wins the Illinois governorship in 2014, might he or she have some explaining to do to House Speaker Michael Madigan?

The state GOP has made "Fire Madigan" a central part of its 2012 political messaging, even debuting a new website Monday that has everything from coffee mugs to golf shirts to dog tee-shirts for sale, all emblazoned with the party's anti-Madigan credo.

"Everybody needs to buy them," state GOP chief Pat Brady told Illinois delegates attending the Republican National Convention. "They'll be the hottest, trendiest thing in the state of Illinois in the next four years."

There's no question the idea could make the party a buck (the most expensive item appears to be a $34.99 hoodie) and is memorable, but that could part of its problem.

Madigan, once nicknamed the Velvet Hammer, is the top powerbroker in Springfield and is known to have the most institutional knowledge and longest political memory of anyone when it comes to slights and grudges.

In other words, Madigan can make life miserable for any governor. Just ask Rod Blagojevich, whose clashes with Madigan were legendary. As a result, Blagojevich's batting average in getting things passed the Illinois House stood somewhere below his weight. That doesn't even take into account that Madigan led the charge to impeach Blagojevich.

unions Illinois State Fair.jpg
Hundreds of unionized state workers picket outside the main entrance to the Illinois State Fairgrounds Wednesday, which was Governor's Day, a traditional day of Democratic unity. The show of force was directed entirely at Gov. Pat Quinn for wanting to gut public-employee pensions and close state facilities that could mean thousands of state layoffs. (reporting and photo by Dave McKinney)
Chicago Sun-Times Springfield Bureau Chief Dave McKinney has the story from the fair; read McKinney's report HERE.

Lt. Gov. Simon State Fair.jpg
Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon at the Illinois State Fair (photo and reporting below by Dave McKinney)

Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon drew boos from angry union protesters when introducing Gov. Pat Quinn at Governor's Day Wednesday at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield. Known for his long speeches, Quinn spent only two minutes talking at the rally. But his words were drowned out by hundreds of union members upset by his plans to cut back pension benefits, close state facilities and lay off thousands of workers. Chicago Sun-Times Springfield Bureau Chief Dave McKinney has the story from the fair; read McKinney's report HERE.


Aaron Schock, a U.S. congressman from Peoria and a possible GOP opponent to Democratic Gov. Quinn in 2014, takes casts a large image in Springfield. (Dave McKinney photo)

By Dave McKinney

It's a good thing Illinois Republicans pride themselves on having a big-tent philosophy.

They need a big tent at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, after all, just to house a picture of potential 2014 gubernatorial candidate Aaron Schock, a U.S. congressman from Peoria who is being talked up as a possible GOP opponent to Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn in 2014.

Schock's mug is featured dramatically in a larger-than-life, floor-to-ceiling poster that says "He's done a lot . . . He'll do more."

While other potential GOP gubernatorial rivals also have literature inside the party's tent, Schock's image by far is the largest of anyone appearing on the fall ticket or beyond, including Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.