* I suppose the biggest news in this Dan Mihalopoulos column is that the Illinois Republican Party no longer believes that sending armed private investigators to the homes of Libertarian Party petition signers and gatherers was a good idea…
On Tuesday, though, the state party’s spokesman provided this “updated” statement: “We do not support the practice of any investigator wearing a firearm while verifying petition signatures. If even one person felt intimidated, that’s unacceptable.”
Well, that’s heartening. A bit on the late side, but heartening.
* And he finally got the Rauner campaign on record…
“Bruce wants as many people engaged in the political process as possible,” Rauner spokesman Mike Schrimpf said in an e-mail. “Bruce has no knowledge of these alleged activities, and if they are true, he strongly denounces them. Bruce doesn’t agree with any form of voter intimidation.”
* And, like the comment section here, he found a handful of direct ties to various players, including the private security firm, which is owned by a member of the GOP State Central Committee who is a big Rauner supporter. A notary used in the effort to kick the Libertarians off the ballot is also a member of Rauner’s staff. His conclusion…
It’s not enough for Rauner to say he was blissfully unaware of what was being done on his behalf. Not when those efforts involved many people he knows well, people he has relied upon heavily in what he says is a campaign to clean up Illinois politics.
But no mention at all that the governor has called for state and federal investigations into the alleged intimidation? I don’t get it. That’s serious news. Every time Rauner talks about how this or that is corrupt, the media’s all over it. But not on this?
* The Quinn campaign’s latest response…
“When it comes to his own campaign’s use of voter intimidation with guns right under his nose, again we see Bruce Rauner choosing to hear no evil and see no evil.
“Mr. Rauner’s previous claims that he was not linked to the individuals involved in these actions have turned out to be untrue. Even more alarming, Mr. Rauner is directly linked to the individual carrying out voter intimidation with guns.
“As we’ve said before, these are serious matters that should be investigated by the State Board of Elections, Cook County State’s Attorney, and the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division.”
“What happened in Oak Park was unacceptable. No voter should be intimidated from making their voice heard as part of the political process.
“If this is how Mr. Rauner is going to run his campaign, what does this say about how he’s going to run the state of Illinois?”
* Again, we have allegations of armed voter intimidation, coupled with a call from the governor for law enforcement action and nobody covers it?
Especially when coupled with statements like this…
[Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider] wasn’t divulging details, but did say the party is identifying areas to keep an eye out for voter fraud.
“I’m not going to open up my playbook, but I will tell you that we will have a significant voter-integrity program,” he said.
I was provided video by RIKEESHA PHELON, Illinois spokeswoman for the Democratic Governors Association, of Republican gubernatorial candidate BRUCE RAUNER at a Nov. 23 term limits town hall meeting in Elmhurst. Rauner appeared there with Chicago-area radio talk show host and former U.S. Rep. JOE WALSH, R-McHenry.
An audience member asked, “How do we make sure that those who love (President Barack) Obama don’t vote six, seven, eight, 10 times?” He wondered how Rauner could win, given that the system is “so corrupt.”
“Fair point,” Rauner responded, adding, “We have a massive voter fraud, voter-integrity issue in Illinois. That’s just true.” He said there should be “rigorous accountability controls inside our voting process to try to bring back integrity. We need identification checking. We need poll watchers.”
Rauner also he would be “driving another initiative, and raising money for that as well, and volunteers around the state to bring a voter-integrity process to our next election cycle and put it in place for the future.”
That video is here.