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Besler hired as Rauner’s “chief strategic advisor”

Monday, Jul 17, 2017

* This is the new Mike Z…

Today, Governor Bruce Rauner announced that Matthew Besler will serve as Chief Strategic Advisor to Citizens for Rauner, Inc. In that role, he will be responsible for coordination between Governor Rauner’s campaign and the Illinois Republican Party, the Republican State Senate Campaign Committee, and the House Republican Organization. Mike Zolnierowicz would have served in the role for Governor Rauner’s campaign. Besler had been serving as President of the Illinois Opportunity Project.

Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider, House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, and Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady released a joint statement regarding the appointment:

“As President of the Illinois Opportunity Project, Matt Besler worked closely with our organizations, state legislators, and grassroots advocates to protect families and businesses from the demands of powerful special interests and Speaker Mike Madigan’s agenda. Matt is a talented leader who understands the political landscape, the state’s critical issues, and the opportunity facing Illinois Republicans in the 2018 election.”

“We are excited to work with Matt towards our shared goal of turning around Illinois by re-electing Governor Rauner and electing more Illinois Republicans to the General Assembly and Congress. The Illinois Republican Party and the House and Senate Republicans’ political organizations believe in service to the common good and are committed to advancing the principles of freedom, opportunity, and limited government. A proven strategist, Matt Besler will be instrumental in the realization of those ideals.”

Pat Hughes will remain at the Illinois Opportunity Project as interim president. Dan Proft is also involved with the organization.

The IOP, you may recall, put $1.3 million into Rep. Ken Dunkin’s Democratic primary race.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

53 Comments »
  1. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 17, 17 @ 6:18 pm:

    Understand this, quite quick…

    ===“We are excited to work with Matt towards our shared goal of turning around Illinois by re-electing Governor Rauner and electing more Illinois Republicans to the General Assembly and Congress. The Illinois Republican Party and the House and Senate Republicans’ political organizations believe in service to the common good and are committed to advancing the principles of freedom, opportunity, and limited government===

    Besler’s recent connection?

    ===The IOP, you may recall, put $500,000 into Rep. Ken Dunkin’s Democratic primary race===

    Besler comes from a group with a DEEP history in Raunerism, not anything Republican… unless the IOP was “confused” about Ken Dunkin.

    It’s all about Raunerism.

    First, last, always. Diana Rauner reminds me daily.


  2. - wordslinger - Monday, Jul 17, 17 @ 6:22 pm:

    From Bresler’s bio at IOP:

    –As President of the Illinois Opportunity Project, he leads comprehensive online and offline word of mouth issue advocacy programs that promote legislative solutions in advance of free market principles.–

    I’ve read that five times and don’t have a clue as to what it’s supposed to mean.

    Probably needs some Baco-Bits and Thousand Island.


  3. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 17, 17 @ 6:29 pm:

    It’s really important that I don’t forget Besler supported Ken Dunkin.

    I hope I won’t forget…

    … I’m betting I won’t.


  4. - The Captain - Monday, Jul 17, 17 @ 6:36 pm:

    “As President of the Illinois Opportunity Project, Matt Besler worked closely with our organizations, state legislators, and grassroots advocates to protect families and businesses from the demands of powerful special interests”

    If you spend $1.3 million on Ken Dunkin you are the special interests the people need to be protected from.

    Also, this was a weird sentence. I get it and why, but it’s weird.

    Mike Zolnierowicz would have served in the role for Governor Rauner’s campaign.


  5. - Anonymous - Monday, Jul 17, 17 @ 6:39 pm:

    Rauner: “Who do we have left on the bench?”

    Tillman: “We’ll have to get back to you when we finish reviewing staff Twitters”

    Rauner: “Somebody give me a name”

    Proft: “I’ve got a guy who helped blow a ton of your money losing Dunkin’s seat”

    Rauner: “Perfect”


  6. - wordslinger - Monday, Jul 17, 17 @ 6:39 pm:

    –Also, this was a weird sentence. –

    LOL, yes, it is. Why even include it?

    Begs the question: what happened to that guy?

    Answer: He jumped ship.


  7. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 17, 17 @ 6:43 pm:

    It’s exciting how this IPI takeover is going…

    You have Tillman and IPI taking over the Executive Offices.

    You have Proft and IOP (Ken Dunkin’s Money Crew) running Rauner’s Campaign operations…

    Who gets the ILRaunerite State Party?

    I hope Griffin and Uihlein get the ILRaunerite State Party. They deserve something for their support of Raunerism.


  8. - Norseman - Monday, Jul 17, 17 @ 6:48 pm:

    Word, keep this up and IOP will accuse you of being Tim Mapes. LOL

    Great stuff Word and Willy.


  9. - Anonymous - Monday, Jul 17, 17 @ 6:49 pm:

    OW- be sure to preface supported Dunkin in a PRIMARG. don’t let facts get in the way of your arguments. Oh and get a life keyboard warrior.


  10. - The Captain - Monday, Jul 17, 17 @ 6:50 pm:

    === Begs the question: what happened to that guy? ===

    It’s almost as if not only was that written about Mike Z, it was written at him. “Hey buddy, this could have been yours but now it’s his.”


  11. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 17, 17 @ 6:50 pm:

    So I have this right…

    You go from Z and Goldberg…

    … to Besler and Rassmussen…

    … and I’m suppose to think these are upgrade moves?

    That’s what Rauner is telling me. That’s the takeaway from
    “The Purge”?

    If you are a Raunerite in the GA, these changes are considered… better…

    Hmm.


  12. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 17, 17 @ 6:54 pm:

    (Tips cap to - Norseman -)

    ===be sure to preface supported Dunkin in a PRIMARY===

    Oh, I didn’t forget. Raunerism is about pretending you’re a Republican but spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a primary candidate, lol.

    Hilarious. That Raunerism…


  13. - Sonny - Monday, Jul 17, 17 @ 7:02 pm:

    Great time to join up with the team. Saying this thing is going sideways is an understatement.


  14. - From bad to worse - Monday, Jul 17, 17 @ 7:04 pm:

    Rasmussen with two big unforced errors so far. So Rauner doubles down by hiring IOP to run the political side. They have a terrible winning record. Will Durkin and Brady allow him to dictate strategy and relegate them both back to the super minority?


  15. - Anonymous - Monday, Jul 17, 17 @ 7:05 pm:

    Who would’ve guessed turning over the keys to the Party to a bunch of right wing policy wonk bloggers who turn out so disastrous


  16. - Anonymous - Monday, Jul 17, 17 @ 7:07 pm:

    Maybe Rauner is just fooling us all, and creating a readily available excuse to drop out or not run again?


  17. - walker - Monday, Jul 17, 17 @ 7:09 pm:

    That sentence means nothing more than “political propagandist.” Another communicator supposedly in charge of policy.


  18. - The Captain - Monday, Jul 17, 17 @ 7:12 pm:

    Just a couple of years ago Proft was declaring war on the House Republicans, now his guys are running the hen house. This is quite something.


  19. - Sorrynotsorry - Monday, Jul 17, 17 @ 7:13 pm:

    Word is not tim mapes, but willy is steve brown.


  20. - Honeybear - Monday, Jul 17, 17 @ 7:15 pm:

    –promote legislative solutions in advance of free market principles–

    ie unrestrained and unregulated pursuit of large corporate profit at the expense of all other considerations, including small business and rural communities.

    The Privileged have their man now.


  21. - JoeMaddon - Monday, Jul 17, 17 @ 7:22 pm:

    From what I can tell, Bester has no real campaign experience.

    The entirety of his political experience has been running IOP, and a few years as a legislative liaison many years ago.

    And this guy is supposed to be the new Mike Z. Wow.


  22. - Heh - Monday, Jul 17, 17 @ 7:24 pm:

    Willy is not Steve Brown. Willy uses complete sentences and rarely has grammatical errors like Steve Brown’s ramblings on Facebook. However, I am sure OW is a House Dem staffer.


  23. - wordslinger - Monday, Jul 17, 17 @ 7:25 pm:

    –Just a couple of years ago Proft was declaring war on the House Republicans…–

    Who says he’s done?

    It remains a mathematical fact that if Rauner ever wants to get any legislation through the GA, he needs to hold all GOP members and attract some Democrats.

    Given the events of recent days, I don’t think passing legislation is his objective.

    In fact, I’m quite certain that it never was.

    Rauner just summarily kicked to the curb his personal crew that had been very loyal to him.

    You think he’s going to pull punches on legislators that he deems disloyal?


  24. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 17, 17 @ 7:35 pm:

    ===Willy uses complete sentences and rarely has grammatical errors…===

    You sure you’ve read my comments?

    ===I am sure OW is a House Dem staffer===

    No.


  25. - Heh - Monday, Jul 17, 17 @ 7:37 pm:

    *Former* house dem staffer.


  26. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 17, 17 @ 7:38 pm:

    ===*Former* house dem staffer.===

    Ask yourself… Are there “really” former Dem staffers?


  27. - Fax Machine - Monday, Jul 17, 17 @ 7:40 pm:

    Willy is actually Speaker Madigan. The whole no cell phone shtick is a bit.


  28. - Fax Machine - Monday, Jul 17, 17 @ 7:42 pm:

    I took a look at Mr Besler’s twitter. Nothing offensive & he seems like a good guy who loves hos family, but he just doesn’t strike me as the sharpest knofr in the drawer.


  29. - Chicago Cynic - Monday, Jul 17, 17 @ 7:49 pm:

    I’d say this is a bizarre move but after the last week, is there anything that would surprise us. Rauner is Trump. He’s clearly modeling himself after Trump. No facts. Just attack. Attack. Attack. Pretty soon he’s going to be talking about fake news.

    Will it work putting ideological warriors with zero experience in governing or campaigns in charge? I tend to doubt it.

    Happiest people tonight have to be the Democrats who want to be governor. This insanity makes their election far more likely.


  30. - Joe Biden Was Here - Monday, Jul 17, 17 @ 7:50 pm:

    With Rauner and his ilk loyalty is a one way street.


  31. - peon - Monday, Jul 17, 17 @ 8:08 pm:

    The problem with budget-as-leverage was that it was a bad strategy. I am sure firing the staff is satisfying, but I don’t see how it helps anyone.


  32. - blue dog dem - Monday, Jul 17, 17 @ 8:16 pm:

    ‘….free market priciples…” This. This is. This is the stuff that ought drive every conservative in the world bonkers. How in the heck can any of the stuff out of DCEO/Intersect Illinois be remotely considered “free market”. Can somebodyhelp me out?


  33. - Roman - Monday, Jul 17, 17 @ 8:59 pm:

    Just saw Durkin on a taped Chicago Tonight interview…indicated he was taking a wait and see attitude on the guv’s staff purge. Defended his members who voted for the budget and override.

    Didn’t address the fact a Dan Proft lieutenant taking over the GOP political operation, but I don’t believe for a second he’s happy about it.


  34. - Chicago 20 - Monday, Jul 17, 17 @ 9:07 pm:

    The Republicans in this state need to make a decision on whether they want to be conforming Raunerites.
    Rauner has hijacked the Illinois Republican Party and whoever is left had better toe the line.
    Republicans cannot continue to be Republicans unless they give up all self-determination and thought processes. Their only mission is to fulfill the Rauner / IPI / Koch agenda or deal with the consequences of abuse and severe punishment by the IPI.


  35. - hisgirlfriday - Monday, Jul 17, 17 @ 9:24 pm:

    Maybe Rauner is tired of having to fund outside groups in addition to the traditional party?

    So he stops funding the IPI and just puts all their people on the public payroll.

    And he stops funding the IOP and has those folks run the campaign.


  36. - G'Kar - Monday, Jul 17, 17 @ 9:33 pm:

    Do you think the staffers who write these press releases get their pay docked if they fail to mention Madigan?/s


  37. - anon2 - Monday, Jul 17, 17 @ 10:26 pm:

    So Besler’s previous campaign was losing the Dunkin race. No wonder he’s being promoted.

    –Just a couple of years ago Proft was declaring war on the House Republicans…–

    The Brave Republicans who voted for the override and aren’t retiring will be Proft targets.


  38. - Bee - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 7:49 am:

    Oswego Willy - you seemed to be obsessed with this blog. You’re watching it all day, every day. I get it, you don’t like Rauner. He won’t be reelected anyway. Won’t dems have to push some reforms on their own terms? I fear inaction. Most of us regular folk do not have confidence in either side.


  39. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 8:19 am:

    Gee, Bee, quite an honor to speak for “most of us regular folk.”

    How did you get the gig, did you win a Metamucil-eating contest over the 4th at Coney Island?


  40. - Name Withheld - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 8:30 am:

    ===I am sure OW is a House Dem staffer===
    ===Word is not tim mapes, but willy is steve brown.===
    ===Willy is not Steve Brown.===

    We need a CapFax alias poll.


  41. - Try-4-Truth - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 8:31 am:

    OW… answer just one question…

    Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Democratic Staff Party?


  42. - Whatever - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 8:36 am:

    Let’s remember that Besler worked for Loleta Didrickson back in the day. That wasn’t exactly a crack operation, but I’m sure that’s been scrubbed from his bio because of IPI purity rules.

    As for mentioning Mike Z in the release - strange. I may be a cynic but I suspect it’s a final twist of the knife - “would have” until IPi lost faith in his loyalty to them.


  43. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 8:47 am:

    http://bit.ly/2tmKGFn

    Ok, ok…

    ===… answer just one question…

    Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Democratic Staff Party?===

    “Absolutely. My answer is I don’t have the first dang clue. Maybe I’m a quick learner and like to learn things here on Rich’s blog. And maybe I didn’t have any political history, or maybe I have. I’m an educated man, but I’m afraid I can’t speak intelligently about the speculation of who I am. What I do know is that the speculation confuses me and I’m not all important to speculate about. Now, are these the questions I was really called here to answer? Who I am and where I’ve been? Please tell me that you have something more. Please tell me these questions aren’t pinned on the hopes of pure speculation.”


  44. - Team America - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 9:03 am:

    Trolls are out early today. Lotta frustration being taken out on Willy.


  45. - Union proud - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 9:12 am:

    “Democratic Staff Party”

    Sounds like the name of a porno…


  46. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 9:14 am:

    ===Lotta frustration being taken out…===

    Nah, it’s all good, I think - Try-4-Truth - was actually having fun with the wording too.

    Asked and answered…

    === ===I am sure OW is a House Dem staffer===

    No.===

    I have no history, whatsoever, with House Dem Staff.


  47. - annonin' - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 9:16 am:

    More resume lines for Bessler
    Beside Durkin IOP should get credit for the nearly absentee ballot fraud effort in Quad Cities, Kankakee and Lake Co.
    If Besler in can TwoPiece and SingleMom be far behind —so to speak ?


  48. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 9:16 am:

    Rather than Willie, IPI/Proft trolls/payrollers should be worried about the former Rauner staffers who got kicked to the curb. They’re the ones with the inside dope.

    How do you think the Body Man fiasco went down so fast?


  49. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 9:30 am:

    ==As for mentioning Mike Z in the release - strange. I may be a cynic but I suspect it’s a final twist of the knife - “would have” until IPi lost faith in his loyalty to them.==

    Tillman/Rauner: “See, Z, you could be running this great new machine of an organization had you stayed loyal”

    Z: “I’m good.”


  50. - Juvenal - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 9:35 am:

    The important question isn’t whether Oswego Willy has ever been a member of the Democratic Party, but whether Matt Besler has ever been a part of a successful organization.

    The answer to both questions seems to be the same.


  51. - Try-4-Truth - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 10:36 am:

    Thank you OW, and yes, it was a sad attempt at humor. I’m glad you took it in the appropriate manner.


  52. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 10:42 am:

    - Try-4-Truth -

    No worries at all, I saw your lead on it.

    All good.


  53. - Johnny Number Five - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 3:01 pm:

    Matt Besler has been around the block and responsible for such paradigm-shifting campaigns as Danielle Rowe, Heidi Holan, and Rod Drobinski. The only problem is that these, and many, many other candidates backed by Liberty Principles, have lost.

    When you bring campaign strategists in who haven’t won, what do you expect the result to be?


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