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Will Rauner run again?

Friday, Sep 29, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Eric Zorn wondered the same thing that was on a lot of minds yesterday. Will the governor run for reelection?

Rauner is a wealthy man who doesn’t need this job and has learned, even if he won’t say so publicly, that he’s not very good at it.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan shocked the Illinois political establishment with her recent announcement that she would not seek re-election to a fifth term. A similar announcement from Rauner, while more consequential, would be far less shocking under the circumstances.

I didn’t hear back when I queried his campaign about this possibility Thursday. But the haggard man dully answering reporters’ questions that afternoon while bracing for the howls of betrayal from his former supporters didn’t look like someone braced for the political fight of his life.

He looked like he was done.

* But then this was added later

Well past my print deadline a spokesman got back to me and said that, while Rauner has not announced his candidacy for re-election “he is running and already circulating petitions.”

They reached out to me as well.


  1. - Cubs in '16 - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 9:15 am:

    He’ll run again. It’s all about the map this time. And unions still.

  2. - Ducky LaMoore - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 9:17 am:

    Oh yeah he is running. Just because every political calculation he makes confuses us, doesn’t mean he isn’t running. It just means he makes poor political calculations.

  3. - Anon221 - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 9:18 am:

    He still has his two US Supreme Court cases to “re-energize” him. Now might be a good time to leave the country, though, for those bidness trips to Europe and Israel. Or, a long Moroccan vacation. Could see Rasmussen leaving and others who now know they won’t be making policy for Rauner.

  4. - Dome Gnome - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 9:18 am:

    I’ve never seen Rauner so subdued and also never seen his far right flank so invigorated. That will be an interesting mix.

  5. - Anonish - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 9:22 am:

    Rauner dropping from the race would be the best way for republicans to guarantee that they would run against Biss or Kennedy.

  6. - Deft Wing - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 9:23 am:

    Yes. But he shouldn’t. Only a few trust him and even less like him.

  7. - Arsenal - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 9:23 am:

    He certainly is, if for no other reason than he still has, by far, the best change of any Republican of winning. That’s not to say he’s not vulnerable; just that anyone else is practically doomed.

    That all being said, it’s like the constant whispers that Kennedy will drop out; that he even has to answer the question should alarm his team.

  8. - Pundent - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 9:23 am:

    There are plenty of things that Rauner feels passionate about HB40 just wasn’t one of those. I don’t see this as much of a moral decision as a calculated one. Rauner has never been much of a far right guy. He’ll get out on the stump and go downstate and talk about all their money going to Chicago but that’s about it. He did box himself in on HB40 by taking two completely contradictory positions, but the first one helped him get elected and at the end of the day was more consistent with the “brand” he’s trying to cultivate

  9. - Flynn's mom - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 9:23 am:

    He’ll run again. His arrogance will not let him walk away.

  10. - Anonymous - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 9:24 am:

    Wonder how much he will have to pay per signature to petition signatures.

  11. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 9:25 am:

    He’s running, he had the pristine credibility of Diana Rauner’s word on “no social agenda” and being the lone governor in the United States that signed into law such far reaching abortion language.

    The Raunerites in both chambers are wholly complicit and enabled Bruce Rauner, purposely hurting the likes of Catholic Charities while invoking Blase Cardinal Cupich in their own hand wringing.

    Rauner has $70 million already “on hand” and the two duped Raunerite caucuses need that Bruce and Diana Rauner money. They all know it.

    The math may be Rauner counting on Conservatives sitting out, lowering the turnout, instead of voting for “Democrat candidate” whomever.

    Maybe now these former Republicans might shy away from their Raunerite credentials, but still be not “that shy” to take that Bruce and Diana Rauner.

    Remember, Rauner said he wants Madigan defeated. When did Rauner say he’d like Republicans, not Raunerites, to lead Ilinois?

    Oh, Rauner is running, and while Rauner may be that utter phony, the signing of HB40 has made Diana Rauner, not only Bruce’s best friend, but his biggest asset to win.

  12. - Nick Name - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 9:31 am:

    It’s just wishful thinking to speculate that Gov. Gaslight won’t run. He’ll run, and it’ll be a tough fight. Labor needs to be united — and vote accordingly.

    And don’t think that his signing of HB40 will make it any easier. Pro-lifers are howling now, but this time next year they’ll obediently get in line and vote as they’re told. “Vote Republican or the baby gets it” has been their mantra for almost fifty years, they’re not changing now. And the only thing they hate more than abortion is the thought of voting for a Democrat.

  13. - The Captain - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 9:32 am:

    In 2014 he bought the Governor’s office and in 2016 he bought the entire Illinois Republican party so I’m pretty sure this question was answered when he reloaded $70 million into his campaign account.

  14. - VanillaMan - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 9:34 am:

    What elected Rauner is still around. A majority of voters do not support a Democratic monopoly government. They want change. They want reforms. They still don’t see a brighter future. They still see their families leaving Illinois. They are still unhappy.

    But Rauner had clearly failed. He is a mess. We can’t go through more years like the last three.

    Who wants JB? Right now he is supported by voters who know we can’t take Rauner any longer. JB, on his own though, is an out of touch billionaire who lives in la-la land, not reality. His policy proposals are laughably cartoonish. He is so out of touch with reality be wants us to think dreams of liberal nirvana can come true. While he might afford to buy that, it isn’t affordable to the rest of us. JB shouldn’t be a winning candidate, but is - thanks to Rauner.

    Illinois wants to vote for someone who is interested in cleaning up the messes created over the past 18 years. Not someone who rips toilets out of mansions to save a tax buck.

    JB might look like Fred Flintstone, but as governor JB is “Yabba-Dabba-Don’t”.

    Anyone but Rauner. Get rid of him. If he doesn’t run, we can get a better choice than JB and another four years of one-party rule in Illinois.

  15. - Arsenal - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 9:34 am:

    ==The math may be Rauner counting on Conservatives sitting out, lowering the turnout, instead of voting for “Democrat candidate” whomever.==

    Boy oh boy, is that risky. A low turnout election because your base stays home isn’t how you usually draw up the play.

  16. - Joe Bidenopolous - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 9:36 am:

    I think signing the bill actually bolsters the case that he’s running again. It gives him at least a puncher’s chance at some of those suburban women who were on the verge of abandoning him in droves, and they’re key to the election. And where does the far right turn after the primary? Sure, he’all lose some of them, but most will still see him as a firewall to evil Madigan and the Chicago machine, hold their noses and vote for him anyway.

  17. - BuckinIrish - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 9:36 am:

    All it will take is an election year battle for these right wing Republicans to come back on board. This may be an issue that crosses a line for them, but once they start seeing smug JB Pritzker ads, they’ll pony up to the table once again. It’s not like they’re just gonna sit in Springfield and do nothing for the next year and a half.

  18. - Arsenal - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 9:37 am:

    ==He is so out of touch with reality be wants us to think dreams of liberal nirvana can come true.==

    You should go ask Biss and Pawar voters if they think Pritzker is promising a Liberal Nirvana.

  19. - Norseman - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 9:40 am:

    The odds are that he’ll run. But, this is the egotistical guy who said he never loses. Rauner may decide that it’s better to bow out than be defeated.

  20. - Macbeth - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 9:40 am:

    If Rauner were smart, he’d drop the mic and walk off the stage.

    Legacy-wise, this erases pretty much all the deliberate damage he’s caused.

  21. - Curl of the Burl - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 9:42 am:

    Yes - because he wants the next remap to go in his favor.

    I meant to type this recently on a post last week or two weeks ago but completely forgot. Rauner is the “X Factor” for the remap. 6 years ago the ILGOP Congressional Delegation spent $2-$3 million to fight the Madigan-Costello map. They lost - but more so because they ran out of money. Rauner does NOT have that problem. I can see him tying up the 2022-2032 remap in court forever and a day. And who will stop him from spending the money? His staff and political team would want him to fight until the proverbial death. Given all at stake with the next remap that alone is impetus enough for Rauner to run for reelection and put his all into it.

  22. - Still Campainin' - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 9:43 am:

    I would have to say yes. He’s been campaigning for over nearly 3 years now. His work of finishing-off Illinois isn’t compete.

  23. - DarkHorse - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 9:44 am:

    Rauner, for all his missteps, may have been playing a clever long game by signing HB40. He shows suburban women he’s not a “Neanderthal”; by picking a very pro-life AG nominee, he shows he’s not “hostile” to pro-life sentiment. He doesn’t need pro-lifers now, just in Nov 18, and he’ll probably get them if JB’s the nominee.

  24. - Century Club - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 9:46 am:

    I think he will definitely run. He’ll get a primary challenge from the far right, which will give him an opportunity to court moderate suburban women. And after the primary, Rauner’s frame will still be: you may not like me, but I’m the only thing standing in between that tax-hikin’ Madigan and complete control of the State.

  25. - A guy - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 9:47 am:

    It’s really anyone’s guess what’s going to happen now. Anyone speaking with certainty now is fooling themselves.

    The cat who spoke yesterday didn’t look to me like a guy who’s contemplating the future.

    Per usual, we’ll see.

  26. - Jocko - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 9:49 am:

    Why not? He’s effectively “kneecapped” the ILGOP by taking it over and ambushing anyone who doesn’t go along (see Radogno, Bellock, et. al).

  27. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 9:49 am:

    ===Yes - because he wants the next remap to go in his favor.===

    “… and the penny drops”

    Durkin, Brady, they know they need Rauner to be there to hold the whole state hostage to get the best map that can elect more Raunerites.

    The howling and bemoaning will turn to “we can’t afford another Democrat map”, and the angered, rightly angered, and the enablers will come back. Not all, not completely, but, along with his piggy back, has that “map” issue to remind the caucuses they need him (Rauner) and not a Democrat to sign (or hold a state hostage for a map) a map that the hostages can try to be competitive as the playing field.

    Great reminder.

  28. - Responsa - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 9:52 am:

    I agree he looked and sounded terrible and worn down. But he “governed”–he did what most people here always say they want him to do with HB40. Right? Right? A huge campaign scare issue has been taken off the Dem’s table. Right?

  29. - 47th Ward - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 9:52 am:

    It never occurred to me that he wouldn’t run and I think he certainly will.

    I mean, at this point, if he decides not to run, he’d really be sticking it to the ILGOPs. It’d set off a mad scramble free for all race to get on the ballot, raise money and spend it attacking each other. It’d be total chaos, mass hysteria. Nobody needs that.

    Well, OK, I’d love to see it, but really, nobody needs that.

  30. - Last Bull Moose - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 9:54 am:

    If Rauner is goal oriented he will find someone else to back for Governor. Get them to privately agree to back a few of his key issues and bow out.

    He must realize by now that he is not good at governing. No great shame in that. Nobody does everything well. I’m sure JB hired a plumber to remove his toilets. Rauner should back someone who will do a better job.

  31. - Trapped in the 'burbs - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 9:57 am:

    I think the plan was “turn around” Illinois in the first term, win a second term in ‘18 and declare for president for 2020. He’s not ready to give up on the dream of being president. Just my thought.

  32. - Curl of the Burl - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 9:58 am:

    Willy - yep (if Brady and Durkin are still leaders - or even around by then). That was what made the 2010 loss so big. We knew the House and Senate would remain in Democratic control - so the Governor’s office was our last, best “hope”. Losing that race was a potential death knell. This time around we likely would not overtake the House or Senate - but Rauner will shovel cash at a lawsuit.

  33. - cdog - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 9:59 am:

    I hope not. He’s a loser.

  34. - Arsenal - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 9:59 am:

    ==A huge campaign scare issue has been taken off the Dem’s table. Right?==

    I doubt it.

  35. - Sic semper tyrannis! - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 10:01 am:

    He’s running again, calling County Chairmen to let them know this morning.

  36. - Curl of the Burl - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 10:02 am:

    47th - the only Republican who could get something together in short order would be McCann due to his “friendship” with organized labor. They could get triple the required signatures done in no time. Who else would have such a relationship that would allow him or her to garner the needed signatures and door-to-door efforts? Off the top of my head the only other potential contenders would be Congressional delegation members - but one of them would obviously have to give up his seat to do it.

  37. - Angry Republican - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 10:04 am:

    Yep, governor Mark Kirk is definitely running again, and like Senator Kirk we already know the outcome. Even with all of his money, I don’t see any path to victory for Rauner. If IL-GOP wants any voice in the remap, they should ask Rauner to resign.

  38. - Arsenal - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 10:06 am:

    ==the only Republican who could get something together in short order would be McCann due to his “friendship” with organized labor.==

    If Rauner dropped out (Repeat: he won’t) his organization would be up for grabs; whoever gets it (and perhaps multiple candidates would get different parts of it) could probably slap something together.

  39. - Honeybear - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 10:07 am:

    Yes Rauner will run
    He has one play left
    One grand gesture to Unite the Right
    One way to set his legacy in history
    Surpassing Walker
    The Great Labor War
    Yesterday Scotus crossed the Rubicon
    I’m absolutely convinced now the attack
    Will come in December
    December is the trick box
    Most AFSCMEs live ( despite troll claims to the contrary)
    Pay check to pay check
    4th District Appelate could remove the stay of implementation
    (Something entirely different than what Finke suggests)
    Forcing the union to strike or submit
    Either way it is devastating
    By the time Janus v AFSCME comes (as early as March)
    The Terranova disinformation campaign
    Has savaged the front line
    The workforce is in active collapse
    AFSCME is a ruble pile and he pivots
    To IFT and SEIU
    And apply the full weight of
    Right to work to destroy them
    Just in time to win the election
    With enormous achievements
    Victorious over Labor
    The hero of the Right
    The Corporate Messiah

    That’s why he’ll run
    It all hinges on destroying labor
    It always has

  40. - OneMan - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 10:07 am:

    Durkin, Brady, they know they need Rauner to be there to hold the whole state hostage to get the best map that can elect more Raunerites.

    Come on, like the Democrats draw a map that doesn’t have the goal of electing as many Democrats as they can.

    BTW OW, Go East

  41. - A guy - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 10:09 am:

    == It’d set off a mad scramble free for all race to get on the ballot, raise money and spend it attacking each other. It’d be total chaos, mass hysteria. Nobody needs that.==

    47, or it unites them to unite around a consensus candidate quickly and get behind him/her. Time just may be their friend on this.

  42. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 10:11 am:

    I can’t imagine him not running again. I wonder if the current damage and anger in his own base is something that is short-lived or has longer life.

  43. - 47th Ward - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 10:12 am:

    A guy, you know a lot more about GOP politics than I ever will. I defer to you on this one. You’re probably right.

  44. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 10:12 am:

    ===Come on, like the Democrats draw a map that doesn’t have the goal of electing as many Democrats as they can.===

    Exactly, bud. That’s why, one of the prongs in the end game and rallying around Rauner is indeed the map. Totally legit. Forgetting that, I feel, might show some short-sidedness by some that are now “done” with Rauner. Lots on the table in this Governor’s race.

    ===BTW OW, Go East===

    Went to the Starbucks on 34 today, the talk was how OE might get that first victory over OHS. Should be a great game. #OneOswego

  45. - Arsenal - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 10:16 am:

    ==47, or it unites them to unite around a consensus candidate quickly and get behind him/her. Time just may be their friend on this.==

    Very possibly. And if Rauner doesn’t run (Repeat: He will), it’s not like all the folks who collect signatures for him will disappear. They’ll just help out someone else, and they very well could all move en masse to a new candidate.

  46. - Curl of the Burl - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 10:19 am:

    Arsenal - what organization is that? Do you mean the Illinois Republican Party - which is a subsidiary of Citizens for Rauner, Inc.? Willy is good at reminding us that Rauner owns the ILGOP - and even though we have our differences Willy is 100% right. I was around when McKenna was the chairman - and it was not pretty. It was pretty disorganized and poorly funded in 2010 - and the only reason Brady, Kirk and the Congressional candidates were competitive is because the RGA, NRSC, NRCC and RNC propped them up. Rauner not running for reelection would be horrific for the state party. They have about $2 million available right now - which is nothing. All of the money is tied up in Rauner’s committee - which could easily sit out any races next year if Rauner were to not run again. It is his money, after all.

  47. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 10:19 am:

    - A Guy -

    1) Are you saying Rauner will run?

    2) Do you still support Governor Bruce Rauner for re-election?

    I just want to be clear, not assume your positions on both.

  48. - Anonymous - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 10:28 am:

    I believe he will run, but circulating petitions means nothing. Lisa Madigan was circulating petitions too.

  49. - Scott Cross for President - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 10:28 am:

    Q: How bad is Rauner’s shop now ?
    A: Rauner’s re-election announcement is a Friday news dump.

  50. - Blue dog dem - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 10:30 am:

    No. He will not run. Proud men dont like butt whuppens.

  51. - walker - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 10:39 am:

    VMan is like a rectal thermometer reading what ails us in our guts. Remarkable talent.

  52. - Anonymous - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 11:00 am:

    If Diana wants him to run, he’ll run. He signed the taxpayer abortion bill more because Diana’s wanted it. “Yes, Dear”. He comes across as whupped to me.

  53. - CubsFanDan - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 11:06 am:

    A week ago 2 young men stopped by my house with petitions for Erika Harold, Rodney Davis and Rauner. I signed the first 2 but would not sign Rauner’s, I voted for him the first time but never again. His legacy in government is complete failure.

  54. - SAP - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 11:21 am:

    I expect the Governor to run for re-election because he does not seem to be burdened with self-awareness about his ability to govern. However, vetoing the bill yesterday instead of after the candidate filing deadline is not what I’d call a sharp move.

  55. - wordslinger - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 11:46 am:

    His action is an announcement that he’s running again, a dash to the middle.

    Personally, I dont understand his motivations for wanting to be governor in the first place. A man his age, devoting his third act to misanthropy. I don’t get it, but he’s been doing it.

  56. - Langhorne - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 11:51 am:

    Yes, he will run. Never happier. Persistent. Succeeds at everything. He wants to be around for:

    Afscme contract/impasse strike/lockout
    Lots and lots of open seats, lots of bryce bentons to groom.
    Governing? Doesnt make the list.
    Same message, same playbook. Go flyfishing w some buddies. Good wine. Back at it. Who has keys to the van?

  57. - NorthsideNoMore - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 11:53 am:

    BR is learning Governing is tough when you learn everyone doesnt work for you……GOP Where is say Dillard? Brady ? or anyone else (but please not another billionaire) Better get that slating machine dusted off.

  58. - Skeptic - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 12:09 pm:

    “GOP Where is say Dillard? Brady ? or anyone else (but please not another billionaire)” He’s right over there…Oswego Willy. He’s the man.

  59. - Rabid - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 12:21 pm:

    think anyone who has collected signatures for Rauner, throws them away

  60. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 12:26 pm:

    - Skeptic -

    Thanks, that’s very kind.

    I’ll pass on your information to - Norseman -, we’re figurin’ what our constituency is. It might be a write-in in November. Stay tuned.

    To the Post,

    It’s been brought up here and elsewhere, the Janus case also allows Rauner to have one of his goals in defeating Labor, public sector Labor, be something he can run on while being pummeled by all of Labor.

    Just hearing the case is one “victory”, if Rauner gets a favorable ruling, he may be able to marshall anti-Labor types to assist where others (like conservatives) may have left him on the ground.

    Why not roll the dice there to?

  61. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 12:43 pm:

    “Personally, I dont understand his motivations for wanting to be governor in the first place. A man his age, devoting his third act to misanthropy. I don’t get it, but he’s been doing it.”

    What many of us don’t get is what Rauner considers so necessary and important to the state and country–to deal a “mortal blow” to the left. Consequences are extremely unfortunate in Illinois because of the budget crisis, and no one is more disappointed than the governor, but it’s Madigan’s and the corrupt insiders’ fault.

  62. - @MisterJayEm - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 12:48 pm:

    Rauner will run again because… Madigan, i.e. the reelection/remap exacta is his best hope for politically vanquishing his nemesis.

    – MrJM

  63. - Newsclown - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 1:00 pm:

    Rauner’s a zealot, he’s got a fixation on this and his ego is deeply involved, so yes, he’ll run, and he’ll burn millions of dollars and maybe achieve nothing, but it’s his money to burn. That the IL GOP gets toasted in the heat as a by-prroduct is of no consequence to him, since they are just a means to his ultimate end. And always were.

  64. - Demoralized - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 1:23 pm:

    ==Personally, I dont understand his motivations for wanting to be governor in the first place==

    I did initially. I don’t now. He wasn’t able to accomplish anything and it’s pretty clear things won’t be any different after the next election. I’m not sure why he wants to waste his money on a campaign to return to such dis-function. He thought he could be a CEO. He couldn’t. He figured out governing is hard. I’d bow out. But, that’s hard on the ego.

  65. - James - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 1:46 pm:

    He’s running. That morose, haggard-looking man signing HB40? That was phony–an act. Hud may have coached him to not appear like a salesman but to rather go really slow to show your base how painful this is to you.

    That show was in preparation for the general election–his base will have nowhere else to go, and he needs to attract support from the center.

    He especially fears Personal PAC–the idea of them running those full page ads for the next 14 months–that reaches him where he lives.

    This his hobby–he wants to legislate so Illinois laws look more like those in South Carolina or Texas. And it takes more than one term to buy a new legislature. If he loses the general, this will still be his hobby–he’ll just be reduced to funding like-minded candidates from the sidelines.

  66. - Steve Rogers - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 2:13 pm:

    I never even considered that he wouldn’t run again. All these state legislators now saying they can’t support Rauner remind me of all those federal legislators who said they can’t support Trump after the Inside Edition tape came out. They all went back to Trump, and they all will go back to Rauner.

  67. - Ron - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 2:33 pm:

    “And unions still.”

    This is why I will likely support him. Also, the abortion signature is a huge plus.

  68. - JAH - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 4:09 pm:

    I’ve been saying NO for months

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