* Surprise, surprise, Eden Martin uses his Sun-Times column to endorse his old friend Bruce Rauner…
Supporters of some of the establishment Republican candidates for governor and a few media commentators are now taking shots at political newcomer and present front-runner Bruce Rauner. Some say he has an “arrogant” streak, and others claim it’s hypocritical for a wealthy candidate to refer in campaign ads to wearing an old watch or driving an old van.
I’ve worked with Bruce for years on state finance and education policy, and I can understand how some who disagree with him might easily mistake self-confidence for arrogance. But I’ve found him to be smart, disciplined and focused on getting results. Full disclosure: I like and respect him, and I’ve contributed to his campaign.
He’s not only given money to Rauner’s campaign, he hooked Rauner up with a key supporter. Mark Brown has the story…
The Rev. James Meeks, a former Democratic state senator who pulled out of the 2011 mayor’s race against Emanuel, and Rev. Marshall Hatch, a lower-profile West Side minister most recently in the news for helping bring Rev. Al Sharpton to town, are actively supporting his campaign, Rauner told a Gurnee audience in November.
“They want more jobs, and they want better schools, and the Democrats aren’t delivering,” explained Rauner, who said he expects to win 25 percent of the city vote with their help, enough to keep a Republican competitive in a statewide race. […]
In a phone interview this week, Meeks confirmed he supports Rauner and said he will try to convince other African-American ministers to help him, too.
“I was with him since Day One,” said Meeks, who describes Rauner as a friend and fly-fishing buddy with a shared interest in education. “I think he will do good things for people.”
Meeks said he’d never heard of Rauner before Eden Martin, President of the Civic Committee, called on Rauner’s behalf about five years ago to request a meeting. […]
Rauner ended up paying a three-hour visit to Salem Baptist Church, the 20,000-member megachurch Meeks built in Roseland.
That led to dinners and eventually Rauner hosting Meeks for some fly-fishing at his ranch in Montana. Now he and Rauner email back and forth with photos of fish they’ve caught, Meeks said.
* The two met in 2008, when Meeks was leading protests demanding that South Side kids be allowed to enroll in New Trier. Ironically, Rauner was trying to get his New Trier daughter into a Chicago public school at the same time.
Mark is quite surprised at Meeks’ support for Rauner, but look at the history. Meeks initially fought for a Dawn Clark Netsch-like tax hike for schools, but that was blocked by House Speaker Michael Madigan and Meeks never forgave the Speaker. So, Meeks and Rauner have their distaste for Madigan in common.
* Meeks eventually soured on the whole project and in 2010 keynoted an Illinois Policy Institute school choice symposium. He launched a blistering attack on teachers unions at that event, another Rauner enemy.
* And, of course, there was this tweet from last summer when Rauner announced he was running…