* Paul Green, the Director of Roosevelt University’s Institute for Politics, has penned a long, but interesting look at the history of Republican gubernatorial primaries which includes a preview of how all four candidates could win. He doesn’t include the union involvement aspect, but otherwise it’s pretty good stuff. Click here to read it all. An excerpt…
I believe it’s fair to say that if politics was a poker game, Bruce Rauner would be “all in”. His vast wealth has propelled him into the political limelight against three opponents – all of whom have political experience and governmental records. Thus, Rauner is a wild card – he can use his dollars to attack and not have to worry too much about his political past.
In order to win this political melee – five things need to happen.
First – Rauner will have to debate his opponents – all of whom are debate veterans. Rauner cannot simply hide behind his commercials. In these debates, Rauner must show both issue and political competence and a thick political skin when the political arrows are aimed directly at him.
Second – in his all-out assault on Springfield and its politicians, Rauner cannot overplay his “negative” hand; he must also have a “positive” hand as well.
Third – Endorsements – Rauner will need them. Especially from the state’s major newspapers. This will show that besides his wealth, the editorial writers recognize public policy substance and governmental ability. He would then publicize these endorsements through his various media outlets.
Fourth – The Rahm Factor. Chicago’s mayor Rahm Emanuel cannot become an issue in the GOP gubernatorial primary. Rauner must convince some fence-sitting GOP voters that he is a real Republican who will be a party player if elected.
Fifth – Finally, Rauner has to piece together a geo-political vote base that carves deeply into Dillard’s suburban/collar strength and Brady and Rutherford’s central and southern Illinois muscle.
This further explains why Rauner is pursuing local party endorsements so heavily. His opponents are calling him a Democrat in Republican clothing. If that’s so, he can say, then why are all those GOP organizations backing him? Yeah, they’re getting some cash out of the deal, but as those endorsements pile up it’s pretty tough to say that so many Republican leaders are selling out to a closet Democrat.
Also, few people actually watch gubernatorial debates. It’ll take a big mistake to make much of a difference.
* Here’s his take on how Bill Brady could win…
Few could argue with the analysis that State Senator Brady was a very fortunate 2010 gubernatorial primary winner. Among the major candidates – he alone owned vote-rich central Illinois while his collar county foes carved each other up in the northeastern part of the state.
In 2014 Brady’s regional base will undergo a challenge from Rutherford (Livingston county) and Bruce Rauner’s television ads. Four things need to happen for Brady to win another narrow victory.
First, not only must he hold his central Illinois base but, unlike 2010 he will have to campaign vigorously north of I-80.
Second, given the above, he needs to use his vote for pension reform (only GOP gubernatorial candidate to support SB-1) to appeal to suburban/collar county Republican voters who in 2010 were frightened by his hard line social issue positions.
Third, again back to the first point – he must remind voters south of I-80 that he has been a longstanding consistent conservative voice in Illinois politics.
Fourth, and most iffy, he needs the other three candidates – especially Dillard and Rauner to tear each other up during the campaign debates and in their speeches.
* Kirk Dillard’s shot…
Barely lost the 2010 GOP gubernatorial primary (193 votes) – due to DuPage county and the rest of the collars having their votes splintered among several candidates - including one who withdrew from the race – Dillard now seeks collar county unity in his rematch with Brady and the other candidates.
In order to win this all-out battle, Dillard needs four things to happen.
First – he needs to raise enough dollars to compete with Rauner for the suburban and collar county vote. Undoubtedly, he will be out-spent, but he must have enough media to play up his gubernatorial competence against Rauner’s all-out assault on him and politicians in general.
Second – his mentor, former Governor Jim Edgar, must be more active in this primary than he was in 2010. He needs to remind GOP voters that not so long ago Republicans ruled the state mansion by electing center-right candidates like Dillard and that the ultimate opponent is Governor Pat Quinn.
Third – geo-politically, Dillard needs to unite remaining collar county and northwest and southwest Cook County GOP organizations behind him arguing on background and experience, he should be their candidate. He needs to close this deal as soon as possible.
Fourth – assuming all four will participate in televised debates – Dillard needs to kick back hard on his Republican brand as Rauner will definitely go after him on his friendship with current and past Democratic colleagues in Springfield.
Dillard faded in 2010 because he was attacked over his Obama TV ad.
* Treasurer Rutherford’s path…
A Republican statewide office holder should have an advantage in a four-way primary against two state senators and a businessman. However, Rutherford in 2010 had a weak opponent in a low publicity race – thereby making it essential in 2014 that he re-introduce himself to Republican voters. It may seem strange to say, but Rutherford – like Rauner – has no specific regional base. His home area is between Brady’s central Illinois and Dillard’s DuPage county.
In order for Rutherford to come out on top, he must do four things.
First – Needs to make his statewide office a huge positive – thereby contesting all his rivals in all voting regions;
Second – Given his state treasurer position, he must outshine his debate foes with facts and figures on solving the state’s budget, pension and debt problems;
Third – Must raise the second most campaign funds to combat Rauner’s media blitz with his own ads showing that governmental competence beats campaign rhetoric;
Fourth – Needs either Brady or Dillard to garner large margins in their home base areas.
He also needs to drastically refine his theme.