Posted by on September 17, 2013 in Blog
Bill Daley, former White House Chief of Staff and member of Illinois’ political dynasty, pulled out of the Illinois Governor’s race today. Daley was considered a serious challenge to beleaguered Gov. Pat Quinn, particularly following Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s July announcement that she would not seek the Governor’s seat. Daley’s departure leaves Quinn alone —thus far— in the Democratic field. The state’s fiscal condition — with a $100 billion state pension crisis, Detroit declaring bankruptcy, Chicago schools laying off nearly 1,500 teachers and classroom aides— may be Quinn’s biggest hurdle. But the GOP line-up won’t be easy to tackle, either.
Two contenders for the GOP nomination are current State Senators Bill Brady (District 44) and Kirk Dillard (District 24). And, based on their tenure in the Senate, they’re tough to distinguish. Both are Assistant Minority Leaders. Dillard cosponsored a 2011 bill to establish the DREAM Fund Commission, which provides privately-funded scholarships for children of immigrants, and Brady voted in favor of it. Brady co-sponsored the Senate Bill to provide licenses for undocumented immigrants, as well as the one authorizing 17-year olds to participate in primary elections. Dillard voted in favor of both.
Brady may have a leg up, though, having received the GOP’s nomination in 2010 after a contentious 7-way primary. He lost the general election to Gov. Pat Quinn by less than 1% — a fact, he says, that shows he’s got strong support in the state.
State Treasurer Dan Rutherford is also seeking the GOP nomination. He won his bid for statewide seat on the 2010 of ballot. Announcing his candidacy in June, Rutherford said “It's hard to win statewide as a Republican, but I can tell you what, I'm positive that we can do it again," driving home the fact that he’s the only Republican in the running who actually won a statewide seat in 2010.
While another Republican challenger, equity investor Bruce Rauner, has no public service record, he does have a veritable fundraising machine that could be tough to beat. Just a month after launching a spring “listening tour” across the state, Rauner’s exploratory committee announced that it had raised $1.3 million for his campaign — including $249,000 of his own money. Some donations apparently came from colleagues on World Business Chicago, an economic development team put together by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel — whom Rauner supported in his Mayoral bid.
In a state long dominated by Democrats, the State Senators’ records on issues like immigration and voter rights, and Rauner’s association with the popular Chicago Mayor may stand them in good stead with Arab American voters. But with the election more than 13 months away, time will tell.
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