* While I was away, some reporters began to pick up bits and pieces of the anti Bruce Rauner movement building among organized labor. From Bernie’s column on December 26th…
Rich Miller, publisher of the Capitol Fax newsletter and associated website, reported this week in his syndicated column that sources tell him labor unions are “moving ever closer to jumping into this primary battle.” The intent, he said, is to “spend a … few million bucks” to try to defeat candidate Bruce Rauner of Winnetka in the primary, because if Rauner is the GOP nominee, it would cost “tens of millions to fend him off in the fall.”
Of even further interest in central Illinois, Miller reported to his subscribers last week that several sources say that while some unions plan to work with the Democratic Governors Association to build this challenge, other unions instead will be involved in forming a separate organization to pay for ads. And, Miller said, “several sources” told him that Steve Shearer will run that group.
Shearer is Congressman Aaron Schock’s former chief of staff.
In light of reports in Capitol Fax, Roman passed along Schock’s statement that also was given to the website. In it, Schock said in part of Shearer: “At no time did we discuss his future plans or employment.”
“Regarding this effort,” Schock said of the reported anti-Rauner push, “I have never been a party to any campaign to influence the outcome of the Republican primary for governor. I have met with several of the candidates who are running for the Republican nomination for governor, and I may get involved in the primary at a later date.”
Shearer was not available for comment.
* The Sun-Times tried to take some credit…
Rauner’s three opponents are struggling to register on the radar. Earlier this month, Illinois Federation of Teachers President Dan Montgomery telegraphed the move to the Sun-Times, saying Republican primary involvement could be in the cards. Montgomery and other unions were incensed about pension-reform legislation that makes wholesale changes to the structure of public-employee benefits. It had the IFT as well as other unions looking at all available political options.
Two of the other three Republican competitors — Sen. Kirk Dillard, R-Hinsdale, and Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford — opposed pension reform legislation, keeping alive their chances to get union support. Dillard has already been the beneficiary of $250,000 in teacher union money, campaign finance records show. Dillard and state Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, are demonstrating dismal fundraising so far. Rutherford has remained consistent in bringing in money, but none of the three can compete with the $100,000 checks Rauner is bringing in with ease. And Rutherford and the others aren’t generating enough cash to sustain a TV ad campaign to target Rauner’s vulnerabilities, including his ties to Democratic Mayors Richard M. Daley and Rahm Emanuel.
Attack ads against Rauner from a third party could be a game-changer in this race.
* Back to Bernie…
Paperwork was filed with the State Board of Elections last week to form The Republican Fund for Progress and Jobs, which is an independent expenditure political action committee. The chairman and treasurer is STEVEN SHEARER of Peoria, former chief of staff and campaign manager to state Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Peoria.
This is apparently a group that will gather money from anti-Rauner forces, particularly labor unions — as was recently tipped in Capitol Fax.
As an independent expenditure group, the new PAC can raise unlimited amounts, but it cannot make direct contributions to candidates or coordinate expenditures with candidates.
The media focus so far has been on the Shearer PAC, but the DGA’s PAC appears to be the one that will carry the heaviest load. Subscribe for more info.
* Meanwhile, unions are also sending cash to Gov. Pat Quinn’s campaign fund. Ormsby…
In the last quarter of the year, Governor Pat Quinn disclosed on Tuesday that he raised nearly $2 million.
In two campaign finance filings with the state election board, Quinn reported $1,970,232 in large contributions, the bulk of which came from trade unions.
The top union checks include:
$250,000 – Operating Engineers Local 150
$150,000 – IBEW
$100,000 – Plumbers, Pipefitters Union
$100,000 – Laborers Union
$100,000 – Painters Union
$50,000 – Illinois Pipe Trades
$50,000 – Illinois Associated Fire Fighters
$30,000 – Chicago Regional Carpenters