* From a press release…
The campaign manager for Republican candidate for Governor Kirk Dillard and his running mate Jil Tracy denounced the campaign tactics of billionaire Bruce Rauner, who reportedly steered thousands of dollars to the Palatine Township Republican organization ahead of the group’s official endorsement.
“This is the height of pay-to-play,” Glenn Hodas said. “Rauner and his allies are basically buying votes while making it appear as though he’s getting widespread support. It’s absolutely unacceptable.”
The Illinois Observer reports Rauner gave $1,000 to the Palatine Township GOP and $2,500 to Palatine Township Committeeman Aaron Del Mar’s personal political committee earlier this year. Del Mar is also the Chairman of the Cook County Republican Party.
In addition, the Observer reports, Rauner ally and wealthy activist Jack Roeser and his company have contributed a combined $56,500 to Del Mar since Del Mar took over the Cook County GOP organization last year.
Rauner’s campaign was also believed to have paid the $25 membership fee required for several individuals to attend the endorsement session and cast their vote. In the end, Rauner handily won the group’s backing.
“Not only will Rauner spend millions for TV commercials, he’s trying to buy votes at the grass roots level,” Hodas said. “This is the kind of thing Republicans ought to be against. It’s really shameful.”
* The other campaigns chimed in…
“I just don’t think the Republican Party is looking for someone who’s going to try to buy an election,” Bill Brady, Republican, candidate for governor. […]
“The fact is he’s got a lot of money. The fact is he’s got a lot of people with a lot of money and he’s going to go out and try to buy name I.D. and positive favor,” Dan Rutherford, Republican, candidate for governor. “And no one’s ever taken as much special interest or out-of-state money as Bruce Rauner.”
* Denials all around…
Dillard’s news release states Rauner’s campaign “was also believed to have paid the $25 membership fee required for several individuals to attend the endorsement session and cast their vote.”
Rauner spokesman Mike Schrimpf said that wasn’t the case. “The Rauner campaign spent no money last night, however we do greatly appreciate the endorsement as well as the free publicity generated by other campaigns touting our victory,” Schrimpf said in an email.
Del Mar, who is also chairman of the Cook County Republican Party, said donations didn’t have anything to do with the Palatine Township GOP’s endorsement of Rauner. In fact, Del Mar says, Dillard himself made a $250 contribution to the committee this year.
“I believe Bruce Rauner is the best candidate for governor we have,” Del Mar said. “He represented very well to our organization and won our endorsement. Period.”
Del Mar also denied that Rauner “paid anybody’s dues.”