* Last week, we looked at a comparison between Bruce Rauner and former Gov. Dan Walker. Today, let’s look at a comparison with a different Walker. From the AP…
When superrich Republican Bruce Rauner decided to run for governor of Illinois, it was clear this wouldn’t be the kind of race the state was accustomed to. Rauner, who made his fortune as a venture capitalist, was new to campaigning and bragged of being beholden to no one. He came out swinging at entrenched special interests and “government union bosses” with an intensity not seen before. […]
“I think all the national unions fear they’ll have another Scott Walker on their hands if he should come in,” said Don Rose, a longtime Chicago political analyst, referring to the Republican governor of Wisconsin who stripped state employee unions of most of their bargaining powers after his election in 2010. […]
Rauner, who made $53 million in 2012 but portrays himself as an everyman in a Carhartt jacket who loves hunting and fishing, is attempting to join the list of Republican business executives who have won office in recent years with no elective experience. They include former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, a former Eli Lilly official; Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, CEO of a plastics company, and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, former CEO of the Gateway computer company. They ran as problem-solvers in states with serious economic problems.
Rauner has cited Walker and Snyder – who also championed anti-union policies_as his role models.
“Illinois is part of the pattern — these rich folks are going wherever they see an opportunity, just like they did in Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan,” said Henry Bayer, executive director of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees Council 31, representing 95,000 workers and retirees in the state. “Illinois is experiencing some real difficulties, so they think they can make some inroads.” […]
Democrats hold veto-proof majorities in the Illinois Senate and House of Representatives, which would make it difficult for a Republican governor to enact his agenda. Organized labor, though, was caught off guard by Walker and union-weakening moves in other states. […]
Since Walker pushed through collective-bargaining restrictions in 2011, membership in Wisconsin Afscme, the state where the union was born, has plunged 60 percent. Republican governors and legislatures in Indiana and Michigan passed laws exempting nonunion employees from paying dues, the first of their type in the industrial Midwest. Republicans pushed similar legislation in Missouri, where Democratic Governor Jay Nixon has vowed to veto it.
“The folks in Illinois sort of feel like they’re surrounded,” said Robert Bruno, a professor of labor and employment relations at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. […]
“Bashing labor unions resonates with the Republican electorate,” said David Yepsen, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University. “And the people of Illinois have had a bellyful of politics as usual.”
Expect to see a whole lot more of this particular comparison in the coming months.