Warning: Campaign Season Ahead!

 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

Plenty of Republican Lt. Governor choices exist for 2014

 In 2010, the Illinois legislature enacted a new law that now mandates gubernatorial candidates to pick their own running mate. Before 2010, candidates that wanted the Lieutenant Governor position would run in a primary and the top vote getter would be added to the top vote getter for the primary for governor. In 2010, that left the Republicans with a Bill Brady/Jason Plummer ticket and the Democrats with a Pat Quinn/Scott Lee Cohen. Democrat Scott Lee Cohen later dropped out of the race and decided to run for governor as an Independent. Because of the Cohen mess Illinois changed the law, which will now allow the candidates to decide instead of the voters.

There are plenty of Republicans lining up to be a good choice for Lt. Governor. Below are a few we decided to highlight, in no particular order.

Erika Harold– Erika is from Champaign and is a graduate of Harvard University’s Law School. She is well known for being Miss America in 2003, but she does have a share of political experience as well. She was the Youth Director during the 2002 Republican gubernatorial primary campaign of Patrick O’Malley. In 2004, she served as a delegate at the Republican National Convention and in 2012 she even threw her name in the hat during the selection process of former-Congressman Tim Johnson’s seat.

Matt Murphy– Murphy is State Senator from the 27th district (Palatine). He lost a very close race to Jason Plummer for Lt. Governor last time in 2010 and could be right back in the mix this time. His current term expires in 2014 because of redistricting rules, so if he decides to run for a statewide office he may not have the state senate on which to fall back. Also, he could be a candidate for governor or another statewide office yet still.

Jason Plummer– Another strong name from Southern Illinois is Jason Plummer. He was the 2010 nominee for Lt. Governor and the 2012 Republican nominee in the 12th Congressional District. A lot of questions remain though. Will Jason run for Congress again? Will he have a gubernatorial campaign of his own? Or will he choose to take an election cycle off? Time will tell.

Dan Duffy– Duffy is the State Senator from the 26th District (sections of Lake, McHenry, and Cook counties) and would be a strong choice from the suburbs. Rumors have Duffy considering a bid for another statewide office. An advantage that Duffy has is that he is not up for re-election for his State Senate seat until 2016. 

Demetra DeMonte– She is currently the Republican National Committee’s secretary is from Pekin, IL and has served in that role since January of 2011. DeMonte would bring the spotlight of the national party to the race, which could help her potential running mate significantly.

Steve Kim– Steve was the 2010 Republican candidate for Attorney General. Steve, who has a legal background and an impressive job resume, travels the world often on business and some wonder if he has time to run for Lt. Governor. He is young and smart and might be a good choice for a downstate candidate like Dan Rutherford.

Kyle McCarter– McCarter is the current State Senator from the 54th District (Vandalia). He, like Matt Murphy, has a term that will come to a close at the end of 2014. If he decides to run statewide he may not have a state senate seat to return to. McCarter ran against Christine Radogno for Senate Minority Leader this year but lost. He is a successful small business owner and has been a good conservative voice and has a bright future within the party. He is a good pick if a candidate is looking for someone from Southern Illinois.

Sam McCann– McCann is the State Senator from the 50th District (Jacksonville). McCann’s term doesn’t end until 2016 so he has the senate as a fallback in case a statewide bid is unsuccessful. McCann, a small business owner, is another good Southern Illinois option for the candidates. Some rumors have him running for a different statewide office but only time will tell.

Patrick Hughes-Here is a wild card pick. Mr. Hughes ran for Senate in 2010 against Mark Kirk in the GOP primary. He struggled to gain traction but he did build some relationships along the way. One potential candidate that might look his way could be Dan Proft, as they have been seen at events together. Hughes could also give it another go for Senate in 2014.

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