Illinois Governor’s Race Rattled by New Candidate

Illinois state Sen. Sam McCann (R) launched a third-party bid for Illinois governor, “exacerbating tensions in the party as Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) tries to heal them ahead of November’s contest against Democratic candidate J.B. Pritzker (D),” the Chicago Tribune reports.

McCann is running as what he called an “independent conservative,” telling Politico that he felt “called to serve” to counter the prospect of having only two “billionaires from Chicago” on the November ballot.

Illinois Governor’s Race Will Be Expensive and Brutal

“Democratic billionaire J.B. Pritzker will take on wealthy Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner in November, a race expected to easily shatter Illinois campaign spending records and make a run at the national mark,” the Chicago Tribune reports.

“Both candidates enter a nearly eight-month general election campaign needing to unify their respective parties following bruising primary campaigns. More than half of Democratic voters preferred one of the other five candidates to Pritzker, while Rauner narrowly beat back a strong challenge from conservative state Rep. Jeanne Ives (R).”

“To a large extent, Rauner’s task is the more daunting. It’s difficult for a Republican to win statewide in Democrat-leaning Illinois, and this fall is a midterm election in which Republican President Donald Trump remains deeply unpopular here.”

Could Rauner Lose His Primary In Illinois?

First Read: “Rauner received a primary challenge from Jeanne Ives, who made national headlines for running a highly controversial ad that included — among other things — a male actor dressed as a woman ‘thanking’ Rauner for ‘signing legislation that lets me use the girl’s bathroom.’ She’s picked up some key conservative allies and donors (including megadonor Richard Uihlein) who accuse Rauner of siding too often with Democratic causes. And the Democratic Governors Association has even been running TV ads calling Ives ‘too conservative,’ which is reminiscent of how Missouri Democrats played in the 2012 primary that Todd Akin ultimately won.”

“Rauner should still be considered the favorite to win today’s primary in his rocky road to re-election. But political analyst Nathan Gonzales, the editor and publisher of Inside Elections, tweeted last night: ‘Multiple GOP sources believe Gov. Rauner could lose #ILGov primary tomorrow night, or at least closer than expected for a challenge to a multi-millionaire incumbent governor.’ If Rauner loses, he’d be the first Illinois governor seeking re-election to lose a primary in 42 years.”

$65 Million Already Spent for Illinois Governor’s Race

First Read: “We’re used to seeing some pretty eye-popping sums on television advertising, but the spending in the Illinois governors race is really off the charts. Two extremely wealthy candidates— incumbent Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic frontrunner and billionaire J.B. Pritzker — have faced tougher-than-expected primary challenges, and they’ve been shoveling cash into ad buys for months ahead of Tuesday’s election day.”

“Pritzker’s campaign alone has spent over $33 million on TV ads, while Rauner has spent more than $16 million. All told, the spending (for a primary!) is over $65 million already. If the two super-wealthy candidates face off for a long general election here, this is set to be the most expensive race in the country — without anyone else even coming close. And our ad gurus say that it’s on track to be the most expensive non-presidential race they’ve ever tracked.”

New Ad Causes Uproar In Illinois

Politico: “But Republican state Rep. Jeanne Ives, whose campaign produced the ad in her primary election challenge to Gov. Bruce Rauner, is refusing to pull the spot, saying it exposes Rauner’s ‘betrayal’ of GOP voters. The new ad mockingly thanks the governor for clearing a path in support of a series of social issues. Then it taps just about every conservative bogeyman in Illinois politics, and every lightning-rod cultural issue.”

Bid for Bernie Voters Backfires In Illinois

“In a move designed to lure Bernie Sanders voters in a competitive Democratic governor’s primary, a top-tier candidate, Daniel Biss, chose a far-left running mate who was a proud member of the Democratic Socialists of America,”  reports.

“Less than a week later, Biss dropped Chicago Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa from his ticket, amid criticism over Rosa’s position on Israel. Biss, a state senator from suburban Evanston, made the announcement on Wednesday, saying the two could not reconcile Rosa’s support for BDS, or the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, with regard to Israel.”

Rauner Pumps $50 Million Into Re-Election Bid

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) “is dumping $50 million into his 2018 race for reelection, an infusion of cash that’s an indication he’s prepared to spend big bucks to win a second term,” Politico reports.

“The investment could be designed to scare off a prospective bid by Democratic venture capitalist J.B. Pritzker, a billionaire who is seen as a potential opponent.”