* For a moment, let’s backtrack to yesterday, when Bruce Rauner and his three opponents were slamming each other over the upcoming anti-Rauner TV ad blitz financed at least in part by organized labor. This was Sen. Bill Brady’s retort to Rauner…
Brady noted that union groups opposing Rauner in the primary are made up of members of both parties.
“Mr. Rauner fails to recognize that there are many union members — in both the public and private sectors — who are Republicans, who are disgusted with the failures of Pat Quinn, and who want to make sure their party nominates the best candidate to turn Illinois around,” he said in a statement.
* That’s not a bad point, although it is a little weird seeing the 2010 “right to work” proponent sounding so “moderate” on union members these days.
Here are some numbers to consider as well…
* Total Republican ballots cast in the 2010 gubernatorial primary: 767,485
* Illinois union membership, 2013: 851,000
In other words, there are far more union members in this state than Republican primary voters.
* Meanwhile, the Jacksonville Journal Courier doesn’t like the idea of unions meddling in the GOP primary…
But does an attempt to drum up support against a particular person — one who has the potential to present an election-time threat to a candidate with union support — cross the line?
At some point it becomes less a matter of trying to steer an election and more a case of trying to hijack it.
Rauner’s campaign says it has already crossed that line and has blasted the initiative.
“Local Republican leaders and grassroots activists aren’t about to let Pat Quinn’s allies subvert the Republican primary, and neither should any of the other candidates running for governor,” said Rauner’s campaign manager, Chip Englander.
It’s understandable unions are uneasy. They have been bruised by a few of the decisions made over pensions and other matters last year and are closely examining some candidates’ anti-union stances. It makes sense they would be selective about where to cast their support and the flurry of dollars that will follow such a pronouncement.
Resorting to schemes that undermine the opportunity of all voters to have an equal voice in the election process is over the line, though, and has potential to harm public sentiment toward unions more than any political candidate could.