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Did the RGA recruit Rauner?

Friday, Nov 20, 2015

* Politico claims that “A relentless combination of big fundraising and recruiting just the right candidates transformed the Republican Governors Association into a political force”

The RGA has avoided congressional Republicans’ problems, especially in hard-to-win blue states, by playing a relentless but “quiet” role in recruiting candidates that fit their states, [Phil Musser, a former executive director of the RGA] said.

Moderate Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker started going to RGA conferences years before he first ran for the office in 2010. After losing to then-Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick in a three-way race, Baker was reluctant to try again four years later.

The RGA responded by organizing a barrage of phone calls from GOP governors and major donors to convince Baker another run would be worth it.

“He needed folks to come to him and say: ‘We’ll have your back,’” said Phil Cox, who served as the RGA’s executive director when Baker won in 2014. “And we were all over him.”

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner was a RGA donor for years before a similar recruiting pitch helped convince him to run for office himself in 2013. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey started attending RGA conferences four years before he ran and won last year.

I don’t know much about Massachusetts or Arizona, but that may be a bit of RGA resume inflation regarding Rauner.

Then again, now we know whom to blame, or thank.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - @MisterJayEm - Friday, Nov 20, 15 @ 12:33 pm:

    “Then again, now we know whom to blame, or thank.”

    Yep. Pat Quinn.

    – MrJM

  2. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Nov 20, 15 @ 12:33 pm:

    Has any other group, committee, person, or organization claimed the recruiting of one Bruce Rauner?

    I did find it exciting that the RGA highlighted Rauner’s donations to them, but kinda forgot donations to Ed Rendell.

    I wonder, did Gov. Rendell have any role with the DGA during his time as a governor?

  3. - 47th Ward - Friday, Nov 20, 15 @ 12:36 pm:

    The RGA? Who knew? I figured Griff was down to his last few billion and begged Rauner to run because the 5% income tax was just killing him. It really is a shame that the wealthy have so little a voice in politics. Who will speak for the billionaires? Who I ask? Oh. Right. Another billionaire.

    As Mr. Burns once said about his massive wealth to Lenny: “Yes, but I’d trade it all for a little more.”


  4. - Harry - Friday, Nov 20, 15 @ 12:36 pm:

    I recall Chris Christie making about 3 appearances on behalf of Rauner last fall, and I think he was the annual chair of RGA.

    Other than that, I don’t remember a hole lot of RGA involvement. Rauner may have supported them, I am less sure they were a big factor in his choice to run.

    I highly agree with MisterJayEm’s comment at 12:33.

  5. - Paddyrollingstone - Friday, Nov 20, 15 @ 12:40 pm:

    47th Ward - love the Monty Burns quote. Here’s one I hope the Governor can say in three years:

    Mr. Burns: “It’s ironic, that this anonymous clan of slack-jawed troglodytes
    has cost me the election, and yet if I were to have them killed,
    I would be the one to go to jail! That’s democracy for you.”

  6. - Langhorne - Friday, Nov 20, 15 @ 12:51 pm:

    If all that counts is winning, RAUNER is a winner.

    If all that counts is bringing a huge bankroll in to oppose dems, RAUNER is a winner.

    If all that counts is righting the ship of state, balancing the budget, and serving people, RAUNER is in no way a winner.

    Your pick

  7. - Aldyth - Friday, Nov 20, 15 @ 12:54 pm:

    So, we have the RGA to thank for this disaster of a governor? In a state with a long history of lousy governors, Rauner is winning the race to the bottom.

  8. - Team Sleep - Friday, Nov 20, 15 @ 12:55 pm:

    I have a hard time believing this. Willy correctly noted the donations to Governor Rendell - former DNC Chairman.

    My guess is that Governor Rauner guaranteed that he would self fund. After witnessing the disappointment of 2010, what did they have to lose?

  9. - illini - Friday, Nov 20, 15 @ 1:02 pm:

    Why does BVR not buy the RGA the way he bought the ILLGOP. Then we would not have to comment on threads like this. Don’t get me wrong, and this is worth being put up on this site, but the past is the past and Illinois got what it voted for, much to our dismay!!!

  10. - Anonin' - Friday, Nov 20, 15 @ 1:47 pm:

    Thought this was a Nick Ayers promo. …for ‘18..
    ‘16 is about over thanks to Trump

  11. - Levois - Friday, Nov 20, 15 @ 1:55 pm:

    You mean to tell me that Illinois isn’t at all that similar to Massachusetts?

  12. - VanillaMan - Friday, Nov 20, 15 @ 2:23 pm:

    Uh - NO.
    Quinn was fired.

  13. - walker - Friday, Nov 20, 15 @ 2:34 pm:

    “Helped recruit” probably means Rauner touched base with them when considering running. He was interested in state politics for a long time.

  14. - Team Sleep - Friday, Nov 20, 15 @ 3:01 pm:

    Walker - humorous, yet sadly true.

    I’ve been thinking about this all afternoon. We had two up-and-coming Congressmen - one who obviously isn’t in office anymore - and the RGA could’ve easily handpicked one of them with promises of massive help and staff. The fact that they didn’t tells me that either Rauner was very aggressive early on or that the RGA didn’t want to risk another 2010.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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