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*** UPDATED x1 *** McCann’s name floated for 2018

Wednesday, Apr 5, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Politico

Turns out an effort has been underway by a segment of the party to recruit state Sen. Sam McCann (R-Plainview) to run against Rauner in a GOP primary. Three sources told us as much, and last night, McCann confirmed to POLITICO he has been approached. Despite Rauner’s financial advantage, a primary from a serious opponent would obviously create a major headache for the governor. Having to defend himself from the conservative wing of the party (I love Trump!) while making himself general election-worthy (I hate Trump!) could prove beyond tricky.

McCann made clear he would not entertain a decision about a gubernatorial run during the legislative session. “I do not intend to think about the concept of running for governor, let alone comment on it, until after May 31st, if at all,” McCann told POLITICO. “There was a significant segment of the party that attempted to recruit me to run as an independent in 2014. I chose not to do that because I wanted to play a role in bringing my party and my beloved state together, not see them both torn apart more than they already were. Fast forward to the present and we see our state more divided and in bigger shambles than ever. It’s heart wrenching,” McCann said.

“I have been casually approached by some within the party about running for governor. I have said to each of them what I will say to you now: I am a patriot. I do not believe it is fitting or proper for anyone of either party to actively and openly campaign for any state office as long as the General Assembly is engaged in its regular spring session. Especially considering the historic times in which we find ourselves,” he said.

HISTORY — You may recall that McCann is a pro-union Republican who went against Rauner and voted for a labor arbitration bill. Rauner and the governor’s political allies heavily targeted McCann in the last primary election, to no avail. McCann is now helping lead the charge against Rauner’s move to privatize nurses in Illinois prisons.

* OK, first of all, McCann is up for reelection next year, so he’d have to give up his seat.

Second, primarying Rauner probably wouldn’t turn out that well for McCann. Remember all the 2016 primary race oppo on his personal finances and the claim that he was Speaker Madigan’s “favorite Senator”? McCann’s voters ignored most of it because they know their guy. He won’t be known statewide so Rauner wouldn’t even have to respond all that much to either the Trump stuff or the social conservative angle (McCann is pro-life).

Third, if labor unions help primary Rauner they could wind up highlighting his moderation on some social issues, which will only help him in the fall. They’ll also give Rauner and his organization a tuneup race and an excuse to blanket the state with ads. But if McCann (or somebody else) sticks to things like the impasse, he could rough Rauner up a bit in advance of the fall campaign.

* But could he win? According to that recent Paul Simon Public Policy Institute poll, Rauner’s job approval rating is 63 percent among Republicans. That’s more than enough to win a primary, of course, but it ain’t great for an incumbent and will hurt him with base turnout in the fall if those numbers don’t improve a lot. There is some room here to bruise him badly in a primary if the poll is accurate and the race is run properly. But a primary is still almost undoubtedly a Kamikaze mission.

*** UPDATE ***  Considering the Statehouse’s usual gossip mill, this recent WMAY interview might be where the rumors actually started

An area Republican lawmaker says he would be willing to support a primary challenger to GOP Governor Bruce Rauner if the right candidate came along.

State Senator Sam McCann made the comment during a live interview with WMAY’s Frank McNeil Monday. […]

McCann says he’s tried to mend fences with the governor, without success…and says the two of them have traveled too far to come back.

And then somebody tells somebody about the radio program and it eventually morphs into Republicans want McCann to run. Or not.


  1. - Deft Wing - Wednesday, Apr 5, 17 @ 9:37 am:

    Floated by Sam or someone Sam asked.

  2. - Ok - Wednesday, Apr 5, 17 @ 9:43 am:

    McCanns record is far better than Rauners.

  3. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Apr 5, 17 @ 9:45 am:

    McCann would not fair well. Please don’t jump on me but what about Kirk Dillard? Learner question honestly

  4. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Apr 5, 17 @ 9:49 am:

    The only way you’d primary Rauner, and it would make sense, is if you can beat him, or get his negatives “sky high”

    Labor would be better off trying to just run “anti-Rauner” messaging, sans candidate, and focus on hammering and shaking Rauner’s job performance. It’s truly about drinking the message “Bruce Rauner failed”, not allowing, as Rich rightly points out, the Rauner Crew a dry run against a specific candidate and drive themselves to lock in “pluses” for the November tilt.

    If anything, Labor, Labor’s allies, and Democrats need to “see to their own houses”.

    When 2 in 5 Labor households voted Rauner in 2014, it’s ridiculous to think Labor needs to concentrate on defeating Rauner or roughing up Rauner in his primary. Democrats, Social Service advocates, “same thing”. Focus on what YOU can control; driving turnout, educating your supporters, grow and collect more pluses.

    Labor or “whomever” wa to to be impactful in beating Rauner, run “negative issue” ads through the primary, not connected to any candidate, and soften Rauner’s positives, harden the negative numbers Rauner has, and tend to your own house.

    Taking on Rauner, with a candidate, in the primary IS counter-productive.

  5. - Norseman - Wednesday, Apr 5, 17 @ 9:52 am:

    Sam, I’m with you forever as State Senator, but running against Rauner would be a fools errand. Don’t let these folks feed your ego with unrealistic hope.

    Unless you want out of politics in a big way, the Senate is where your career is at right now.

  6. - AlfondoGonz - Wednesday, Apr 5, 17 @ 9:52 am:

    I would love to see some honorable R’s show themselves in the primary.

  7. - PDJT - Wednesday, Apr 5, 17 @ 9:55 am:

    ==* OK, first of all, McCann is up for reelection next year, so he’d have to give up his seat. ==

    Why is McCann up for re-election in 2018? He just won re-election in 2016. Remember, Rauner wasted a bunch of money backing a hand-picked opponent.

  8. - Salonica's Backroom - Wednesday, Apr 5, 17 @ 9:56 am:

    The one thing that I’ll credit Rauner for is his diligent adherence to his message and talking points. He just doesn’t deviate. From a governing perspective, that’s terrible, but from the campaign side it’s a huge asset.

    Any type of rapprochment from the right would force him to adjust his message. And I’m not sure how he’d do fending off populist GOP attacks.

    McCann would have to run a perfect, working-class, grassroots conservative campaign.

    I’d give McCann about the same chance as Pawar. There’s a narrow path, with billions of resources to set up roadblocks.

  9. - TickTickTock - Wednesday, Apr 5, 17 @ 9:57 am:

    I think this talk of 2018 also asks who will be on the ticket? Still Sanguineti? Or was yesterday’s Facebook video a Lt Gov audition for McConnaughay or Demmer? It seems McConnaughay has been close with the Governor and the Governor’s administration.

  10. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Apr 5, 17 @ 9:58 am:

    “* OK, first of all, McCann is up for reelection next year, so he’d have to give up his seat.”

    McCann just won re-election in 2016, why is he up for re-election again?

  11. - Grand Avenue - Wednesday, Apr 5, 17 @ 10:00 am:

    It’s called 4-2-4

  12. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 5, 17 @ 10:00 am:

    What “segment of the party” and what are their “efforts” to date? Who are they? What are they doing?

    Three anonymous sources confirm….what?

    Who are the sources, “Sam, Sen. McCann, and him?”

    Self-serving trial balloon from McCann, pretend-journalism from Politico.

  13. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Apr 5, 17 @ 10:02 am:

    Illinois Senate terms are 4-2-4, 2-4-4, or 4-4-2…

    McCann is up again.

    If they drop Ole Slip and Sue for LG, Rauner will have enough time to do that. The question is how much time will they let Slip and Sue know she’s out?

    I’d be a bit surprised if Rauner dropped her. Her invisibility is an asset!

  14. - RNUG - Wednesday, Apr 5, 17 @ 10:05 am:

    I will vote for Sam as Senator as long as he wants the seat. And I would vote for him as Governor also because, unlike Rauner, Sam has actually built and ran a business.

    But to take Rauner on in the primary would be a suicide mission, and Sam’s not that dumb or egotistical. His best move is to stay a Senator for now, let the D’s take Rauner out if they can and partially fix the State’s problems, and if he really wants to be Governor, set his sights on 2022.

  15. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Apr 5, 17 @ 10:05 am:

    So McCann would lose his seat and the Primary. I don’t see much downside for Rauner in this scenario.

  16. - working stiff - Wednesday, Apr 5, 17 @ 10:10 am:

    rally the troops on a single front. not a time to divide.

  17. - Nick Name - Wednesday, Apr 5, 17 @ 10:12 am:

    McCann would most likely get trounced in a primary against Rauner, but beating Rauner isn’t the point. Weakening Rauner for the general election: that’s the ballgame.

  18. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Apr 5, 17 @ 10:16 am:

    ===Weakening Rauner for the general election: that’s the ballgame.===

    No, not by having a primary.

    A primary allows a “spring training” for the Rauner apparatus, with actual vote totals seen, and weaknesses seen in counties, or townships, towns.

    Why give Rauner the trial run? Why give Rauner an electoral “snapshot” where there needs to be work with vote totals?


    The ball game is to weaken Rauner without Rauner measuring electoral weaknesses with a dry run in a primary.

    If anything, a specific GOP Primary allows Rauner to solidify his own massage and a foil to hone messaging for November.

  19. - Curl of the Burl - Wednesday, Apr 5, 17 @ 10:19 am:

    RNUG - yep. Sam built a ran a business - into the ground. After the primary last year he was taken to court three more times for massive unpaid credit card bills, and one creditor even sued to recover his WORK equipment.

  20. - Norseman - Wednesday, Apr 5, 17 @ 10:19 am:

    === … beating Rauner isn’t the point. Weakening Rauner for the general election: that’s the ballgame. ===

    With all due respect to Sam, he’s not going to weaken Rauner any more than Rauner’s lack of governing is already weakening him. Rauner’s bottomless pile of money will bury Sam’s effort. What is spent on the primary will quickly be replenished. Sam’s only hope would be a major Dem crossover. That will not happen with a Dem gubernatorial primary.

  21. - The Dude Abides - Wednesday, Apr 5, 17 @ 10:28 am:

    It would be a bad idea for Sam and also those who want to make sure Rauner doesn’t get a 2nd term to Primary Rauner for reasons mentioned by OW and others. Save your ammo for the General election.

  22. - Memo From Turner - Wednesday, Apr 5, 17 @ 10:39 am:

    ==If they drop Ole Slip and Sue for LG, Rauner will have enough time to do that. The question is how much time will they let Slip and Sue know she’s out?==
    Good to see OW hasn’t lost sight of his favorite person/obsession, next to Rauner and Payton Prep of course. I thought she was dropped for Rev. Meeks.

  23. - Arsenal - Wednesday, Apr 5, 17 @ 10:45 am:

    ==I’d be a bit surprised if Rauner dropped her.==

    Yup. Too much of a signal of chaos. And *way* too much of an insult to suburban women, who will probably take just about any excuse you give them to bolt the Republican Party right now.

    McCann could not win, so I think he only does this if he knows he can’t win his Senate seat again, either, and he wants to trash the house on his way out the door.

    Thus, I don’t think he’s going to do this.

    But primarying incumbents doesn’t usually “weaken” them; instead, it shows that they were already weak.

  24. - walker - Wednesday, Apr 5, 17 @ 10:47 am:

    Smoke bomb

  25. - Arsenal - Wednesday, Apr 5, 17 @ 10:47 am:

    It’d be interesting to see what AFSCME did if Sam made the race, though. ‘Cause they’ve crossed over both to oppose Rauner and to support Sam (though I suppose they were one-and-the-same in Sam’s race), but if they do that again, they risk missing out on their first choice in the Democratic Primary (Whoever that is).

  26. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 5, 17 @ 10:47 am:

    Meeks, if he would go for it, would be a brilliant choice for Rauner at lg.

  27. - Blue dog dem - Wednesday, Apr 5, 17 @ 10:54 am:

    RNUG. Could Sam be considered a fiscal conservative?

  28. - Liberty - Wednesday, Apr 5, 17 @ 11:04 am:

  29. - Blue dog dem - Wednesday, Apr 5, 17 @ 11:13 am:

    Liberty. Thanks. Sounds like not much different than Rauner,MJM,Biss.

  30. - Earnest - Wednesday, Apr 5, 17 @ 11:23 am:

    I don’t know if McCann’s the right guy, but I do think it would be good if Republican primary voters had someone to vote for who isn’t anti-union. I’m not sure a primary challenge will lead to Rauner spending less on campaigning or messaging since he’s already running ads now.

  31. - jim - Wednesday, Apr 5, 17 @ 11:33 am:

    he’ll never risk his seat. he needs the money.

  32. - RNUG - Wednesday, Apr 5, 17 @ 11:33 am:

    -blue dog-

    I see him as pragmatic​ with fiscal conservative leanings while mostly (with an exception or two) moderate on social issues. Others may see him as more conservative on social issues. He is, in at least a few cases, willing to vote his district when they have clearly spoken. And he seems to be a good fit for his district.

  33. - A guy - Wednesday, Apr 5, 17 @ 11:43 am:

    Sam is just such a pleasant fella, well liked by almost… (nevermind)

    Silliest thing I”ve read in a while. Equally short on money and charm.

  34. - Generic Drone - Wednesday, Apr 5, 17 @ 12:02 pm:

    Don’t be a martyr Sam. We need you in the Senate more than have you be sacrifaced in the primary. Let Rauner win or lose on his own record.

  35. - Last Bull Moose - Wednesday, Apr 5, 17 @ 1:56 pm:

    Sam may not be able to win the Republican Senate primary without Democratic crossover votes. That could tempt him to hit Rauner head on.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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