* Speaker Madigan recently talked about how he came to know Bruce Rauner, and how he informed Rauner that quite a few House Republicans were on the other side of Rauner’s education reform push…
“We’ve met over the years, it’s not that we’ve had a recent meeting. We’ve known each other for several years. The first meeting we had was concerned with education. We met concerning a group called Stand For Children which he was involved with, he was involved in fundraising for Stand for Children. When I learned of his interest in education and Stand for Children, I asked for a meeting with him. We had a very lengthy discussion about education, education funding.”
Bruce Rauner, the GOP’s 2014 gubernatorial candidate is credited with bringing the state chapter of Stand for Children to Illinois in 2010. Right away the group became actively involved in Illinois political campaigns. During the 2010 election cycle, the bipartisan group - funded by donors including members of the Lester Crowne family, the Pritzkers and the Chicago Tribune owner Sam Zell - raised nearly $5 million, of which $110,000 went to Madigan-backed candidates. In 2011, the group gave $50,000 directly to the Illinois Democratic Party of Illinois, of which Madigan is chairman.
“I made an effort to explain that there were plenty of Republicans in the Illinois legislature that were interested in the positions of people in the Illinois Education Association, the Illinois Federation of Teachers. I gave him some documents showing that, so he was appreciative of the information,” Madigan said of his meeting with Rauner.
*** UPDATE *** I suppose this passes for informed comment at the Wall Street Journal…
The speaker knows which switches and levers to pull and has grown accustomed to running the machine, even with Republican governors nominally at the helm. No Democratic legislator gets elected without his blessing.
Our sources say that Mr. Madigan is petrified that Mr. Rauner will usurp him. Since Mr. Rauner isn’t beholden to the Democratic boss or labor unions, he wouldn’t be afraid to use his veto pen or as disposed to cut deals. We’re also told that Mr. Rauner knows where the skeletons are buried in Springfield. And unlike past Republican nominees, Mr. Rauner isn’t afraid to play hard ball. While Democrats may portray the businessman as Mitt Romney in training, Mr. Rauner has sharper political instincts more akin to Scott Brown.
“No Democratic legislator gets elected without his blessing”? Maybe somebody should talk to Will Guzzardi.