It’s Lincoln Day Dinner season in Illinois!
Republican candidates for office will be fanning out across the state, giving speeches, shaking hands & trying to convince the faithful that Republicans should vote for them in the all too soon primary. Some of those making the circuit are old hats & there are a few new faces as well. Let’s take a brief look at some of the candidates that might or might not run for various statewide offices.
Bruce Rauner for Governor – Successful businessman who idolizes what Scott Walker has done to the unions in Wisconsin. I can’t fault his success. I can fault his ties to Mayor Rahm and his & his wife’s past campaign donations to Democrat candidates, campaigns & PACs as pointed out by Illinois Review contributor Sam Pierce. Rauner’s stances on social issues are supposedly in question as well, but opportunities for Rauner to explain those will be forthcoming over the next few months.
Kirk Dillard for Governor – Ran in 2010 & lost to Bill Brady by the narrowest of margins. Dillard does have pretty good conservative credentials & has a name presence in the suburbs – a key voting demographic. Dillard does have some problems though. He ran before & lost & convincing voters that he can get the job done this time will be tougher than last time. Also, must deal with a divided downstate voters as multiple downstate candidates could enter the race.
Dan Rutherford for Governor– He won bigger than Gov. Pat Quinn & did better than expected within Chicago itself when he ran & won for IL State Treasurer. He has statewide name recognition & has a statewide campaign framework in place from his last campaign. However, Rutherford was the only Republican to vote in favor of civil unions during the lame duck session of the IL GA in 2010 which many conservatives still remember & conservatives are the ones that generally turnout in numbers during primaries.
Bill Brady for Governor – Shortly after his loss to Gov. Pat Quinn in 2010, he notified his campaign supporters to “save the signs” indicating then & there that he planned a third shot at winning the Governor’s mansion. Unfortunately, Brady’s time has come & gone & many of those that went to the mat for him remember his far from stellar debate performances, lack of campaigning in Chicago & overall lack of campaign defense against him by Personal PAC & others in the final week of the campaign.
Joe Walsh for Governor – Firebrand conservative who has many Tea Partiers excited about a possible run. Walsh’s words have gotten him in trouble in the past & could hurt him in the long run. Plus, he was only a one term Representative & lost in his first re-election try. Staying power & statewide appeal will be his biggest criticisms to fight, not his conservatism.
Aaron Schock for Governor – A once rising star in the Republican Party, Schock – even in 2010 – was considered to be the next candidate for Governor. Two years is 10 lifetimes in politics & now Schock faces a media blitzkrieg from Bruce Rauner & conservatives alike. Schock has earned the ire of others because he seems to be one of the Anointed Ones by the Illinois Republican leadership. Schock will have a hard time convincing Republican voters he can win if a pre-emptive strike by Rauner has already damaged his chances for winning the nomination for Governor.
Adam Andrzejewski for Treasurer – Don’t yell at me about not putting him in the Governor race column because sources I trust have indicated that he will be running for Treasurer as soon as Rutherford announces for Governor. If I’m wrong so be it. Andzejewski was a successful businessman & new comer during the Governor’s race in 2010. He did surprisingly well downstate where his conservative anti-Chicago, anti-government message met receptive ears. Andzejewski has been active since his run with For the Good of Illinois & therefore maintains a decent name ID. Andzejewski’s biggest hurdle will be convincing voters not in downstate Illinois to vote for him though if nobody with higher name ID enters the race against him, he should sail through the primary.
I’ve heard other names tossed about for Governor like Dan Duffy, Jason Plummer & a few others. I didn’t include them in this initial list because I haven’t heard anything else out of those other potential candidates regarding their possible runs. The same goes for other Treasurer candidates, though Andzejewski has been the only name I’ve heard for that office. As far as Senate, Comptroller, Lt. Governor & Attorney General , I have not heard any names for those offices.
The main point of this article is to point out both some positives & negatives of potential Republican candidates for statewide office in 2014. I know some of you support one person over another or are not satisfied with any of the candidates mentioned. That’s completely understandable. Each candidate has their problems, each candidate has issues they must overcome to win Republican voters. I also understand it’s quickly becoming primary season in Illinois & the long knives will be coming out as Republicans trash Republicans, conservatives argue their candidate is more conservative than the next & candidates trash candidates. Such is politics – there is no way around it.
As the campaign season begins to get into full swing & more people announce/explore, I plan on writing follow-ups to this article.
By: Brian Milleville
Illinois Conservatives Leadership Member