* Mark Brown writes Dan Rutherford’s political obituary…
Rutherford’s entire political future rests on him being able to successfully rebut the allegations of a now former employee who contends the treasurer sexually harassed him and forced him to do political work on state time.
While Rutherford was forceful and assured in his strenuous denials, much more so than in his unusual pre-emptive strike 10 days earlier, I’m afraid he will continue to find that such accusations are more easily made than laid to rest. […]
Before his campaign was sidetracked by Michalowski’s allegations, Rutherford was telling reporters he was in the best position to challenge Rauner’s frontrunner status, an argument he repeated Monday.
Fair or not, it doesn’t look that way from here.
* Yepsen also weighs in…
David Yepsen with the Paul Simon Institute says Rutherford was viewed as the alternative to businessman Bruce Rauner in a four man Republican governor’s race.
“This could be motivated by all kinds of things. Politics, money, personal spite; It doesn’t matter. It’s a very damaging charge,” Yepsen said.
He says the political damage may be too much to overcome.
“It’s such a stain, such a black eye that there’s not really time to get it laundered out before the election,” conceded Yepsen.
* The Tribune editorial board isn’t so sure…
There is little that the rest of us can do right now other than step back, draw deep breaths, and see where the evidence leads us. That’s not so hard:
Illinois voters are steely veterans of political scandals, public corruption and lurid allegations variously true and false. Republican primary voters have some time to wait for more information before deciding whether they’ll nominate Rutherford for governor.
* Greg Hinz also looks at the future…
Is [Rutherford’s response] enough to put Mr. Rutherford back on the political high ground, the innocent guy who fought back? Probably not — especially if the charges that he coerced aides to perform political chores turn out to have merit. But I can’t say that for sure.
Nor is it likely that either of the other two Republicans in the race, state Sens. Kirk Dillard and Bill Brady, will gain from the carnage, though a Rutherford exit or effective exit could allow Mr. Brady, who lives in Bloomington, to consolidate the downstate vote. Both are too far back and have too little money to fight with to make up much ground, I suspect. Unless, that is, Mr. Rutherford can roll out more proof that Mr. Rauner is behind it all.
It’s going to take a few days for all this to settle.
* Understatement of the week…
Northern Illinois University Political Science Chair Matt Streb says the lawsuit will be a big distraction from the Chenoa Republican’s main message.
* The Question: How would you describe Dan Rutherford’s campaign troubles right now? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.