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*** UPDATED x1 - Another one *** Governing Magazine ranks IL governor’s race “Lean Democratic”

Friday, Oct 27, 2017

* Before we begin, let’s look at the author’s bio

Louis Jacobson is the senior correspondent at PolitiFact, the fact-checking website that is part of the Tampa Bay Times of Florida. He is also senior author of the Almanac of American Politics 2016 and was a contributing writer for the 2000 and 2004 editions. For Governing, Jacobson has written a column on state politics since the 2010 election cycle, including handicapping gubernatorial, state legislative and state attorney general races and the electoral college. Before that, he wrote a similar column for Stateline.org and Roll Call. He has also handicapped state and federal races for such publications as the Cook Political Report, the Rothenberg Political Report, PoliticsPA.com and the Tampa Bay Times.

In September of 2014, Jacobson rated the Quinn/Rauner race “Lean Republican.”

So, unlike yesterday’s goofy out of state CNN “pundit,” he has some real experience at this.

* On to Jacobson’s piece for Governing

Three Republican-held governorships are so vulnerable that we’ve rated them lean Democratic. Those are the open seats being vacated by Paul LePage of Maine and Susana Martinez of New Mexico, as well as the seat held by incumbent Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, who announced his run for re-election earlier this week. […]

Lean Democratic

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R)

Rauner’s first term continues to be tough. A Republican in a strongly Democratic state, he’s fought an ongoing battle with the Democratic-controlled legislature that kept the state without a full budget for more than two years. The state remains in fiscal trouble, though, with over $15 billion in unpaid bills and the biggest public pension unfunded liability of any state. A decision to sign a bill providing state funding for abortions for low-income women in September, precipitated a war between the governor and social conservatives, possibly enough to provoke a primary challenge. Rauner has a vast personal fortune, but discontent within the GOP, combined with approval ratings in the mid-30s, point to a difficult re-election bid.

The Democratic field includes three figures from the populous Cook County: J.B. Pritzker, a multibillionaire and the brother of the former Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker; Chris Kennedy, a businessman and son of Robert F. Kennedy; and progressive state Sen. Daniel Biss. Pritzker appears to be in the best position, having secured endorsements from the AFL-CIO, key unions and Cook County Democratic officialdom. Perhaps most important, Pritzker is a self-funder, which is attractive to Democrats looking for a way to beat the deep-pocketed Rauner.

*** UPDATE ***  Part of a DGA press release that also references the above projection…

This week, Bruce Rauner officially announced his reelection campaign with a web video, a paid TV ad profiling Rauner’s lack of job creation, and a distinct lack of campaign events with voters. On Sunday, he heads overseas for a week. […]

Earlier this week, National Journal’s Hotline ranked Rauner as the most likely incumbent to lose his seat:

    “Rauner, who kicked off his bid for a second term with the help of his Harley-Davidson, remains the most-vulnerable governor. With the two-year-long budget battle completed despite Rauner’s veto, attention has pivoted to the Republican’s expansion of taxpayer-funded abortions that has alienated the base.”

Maybe week two will go better.

“Bruce Rauner’s reelection campaign is off to a rough start and its only five days old,” said DGA Illinois Communications Director Sam Salustro. “Rauner’s failures have simply caught up to him. Voters will not forget the two-year budget crisis he imposed on the state, the debt he piled up, and his inability to stem the flow of jobs and people out of state. Illinois is doing worse under Bruce Rauner and riding around on a Harley will not fix it.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

40 Comments
  1. - Anonymous - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 1:23 pm:

    I predict it will not be a blow-out for Pritzker. The state has too many unsolved problems and Pritzker is rather establishment. I’ve warmed up to him a bit lately.


  2. - City Zen - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 1:28 pm:

    Lean Democratic? Have they seen JB?


  3. - very old soil - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 1:28 pm:

    I suspect that Mr. Jacobson reads Capitol Fax.


  4. - Ducky LaMoore - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 1:31 pm:

    The Rauner coalition that swept him into office has an anti-incumbent streak, the social conservative portion is on the verge of complete mutiny, the suburban crowd certainly isn’t happy with the decimation of social services and higher ed, plus the fiscal conservatives aren’t too happy an extra $10 billion in the backlog. Are Mike Madigan and the “I vetoed the tax hike but look at all I have done with the extra money” campaign strategy going to be enough to win? Let’s see what they got on the winner of the dem primary.


  5. - Last Bull Moose - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 1:32 pm:

    I think it is the Democrats to lose. They could be derailed by personal scandal or running a stupid campaign.

    Rauner has limited accomplishments and has angered many in his base. The anti-abortion group may vote against Rauner like some union folk voted against Quinn. The difference is that there are no more abortion battles to fight in Illinois.


  6. - Dome Gnome - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 1:37 pm:

    Yep. This all rings true.


  7. - Lucky Pierre - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 1:39 pm:

    Why is the Governor’s race in true blue Illinois only lean Democrat?

    Like Hillary Clinton famously said “Why aren’t I 50 points ahead”

    Because Democrats have proposed zero solutions to Illinois problems they have allowed to get worse during their 12 years of total control of state government.. They are very good at a couple of things, obstructing change to our government and business environment.


  8. - Publius - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 1:43 pm:

    There is only one organization that could save governor Rauner and that is the Democratic Party. Being so focused on how bad trump is they are not giving people a reason to vote for them.


  9. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 1:45 pm:

    ===Why is the Governor’s race in true blue Illinois only lean Democrat?===

    Because Illinois likes to give governors that second term. It’s tough to unseat incumbent governors.

    Rauner did it with “Pat Quinn failed”

    An omen for Rauner and “Bruce Rauner fails”


  10. - Redraider - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 1:47 pm:

    Reading Lucky Pierre’s comment and watching Sara Huckabee Sanders press briefing at the same time. It doesn’t get any more blissfully ignorant than this


  11. - Lucky Pierre - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 1:49 pm:

    You might want to mix up your schtick OW. I think everyone gets the picture you love Bret Baier and the word fail which you never apply to the Speaker or any Democrats currently in office.


  12. - Lucky Pierre - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 1:52 pm:

    Can you articulate the Democrats plan to lead us out of the wilderness by changing anything Red Raider? Enlighten us with your blissful ignorance.


  13. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 1:53 pm:

    - Lucky Pierre -

    Making it about me, it’s all you got.

    Here’s what I said;

    === ===Why is the Governor’s race in true blue Illinois only lean Democrat?===

    Because Illinois likes to give governors that second term. It’s tough to unseat incumbent governors.

    Rauner did it with “Pat Quinn failed”

    An omen for Rauner and “Bruce Rauner fails”===

    Either go after the content or admit you have nothing. I’m not on the ballot


  14. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 1:55 pm:

    ===Can you articulate the Democrats plan to lead us out of the wilderness by changing anything Red Raider? Enlighten us with your blissful ignorance===

    What will be different in a Rauner second term?

    Pat Quinn failed, lost

    Rauber has failed, but what will be different than all that Rauner failing?


  15. - Redraider - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 1:59 pm:

    Well, lucky allow me to educate the obtuse. For the 1st time in 3 years there is a budget and high school grads in the state can actually apply for MAP grants and stay home in Illinois for a higher education. There is no doubt that Madigan bears a share of responsibility for the past years and that his policy failures created many “ hostages “ it is just unfortunate that Rauners failure to lead has exacerbated the situation and he has decided that it’s ok to kill the hostages in order to get Illinois “ turned around”. You’re welcome


  16. - lake county democrat - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 2:02 pm:

    Was it just last month that the papers were reporting Madigan was concerned the soda pop tax was threatening Dem election prospects and throwing Preckwinkle under the bus to get it overturned? If you’re looking for a reason why Rauner has a chance, it’s because taxpayers are getting restless - they’re being hit with constant, increasing drip of new taxes and will continue to be going into the next election. If nothing else, voters will associate Rauner with being a less likely to hit them with new taxes than a Madigan-embraced Chicagoan who didn’t hesitate to game the system.


  17. - Lucky Pierre - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 2:02 pm:

    I guess what you are saying is you don’t think a majority of Illinois voters want the Speaker’s hand picked candidate for Governor to rubber stamp his failed policies.


  18. - VanillaMan - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 2:03 pm:

    ==Why is the Governor’s race in true blue Illinois only lean Democrat?==

    So you agree that Rauner will lose, right?

    Then why support him at all? What’s he got going over a truthful Republican with a conscience? He could win? No one thinks that.

    Rauner has shivved everyone who supported him four years ago. Badly. He won’t even campaign within Illinois, except in Chicagoland - who never supported him. Because he wants to see if he can get his Downstate supporters back with this Israeli trip.

    You support a guy who is taking money from you to pay for aborting human life? Dude, grow a pair. You’re no better than he is when you come here to lick his Harley boots.

    Real Republicans won’t vote for Rauner because real Republican believe in the sanctity of human life and the sanctity of an efficiently ran government. Rauner is the opposite.

    Rauner shouldn’t win. You know. We all do. Quit creating excuses for him.


  19. - Chris Widger - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 2:13 pm:

    It’s weird that the DGA press release focuses on how Rauner is bad because he signed the abortion bill that Democrats (presumably) wanted. I recommend going for snappier press releases instead of these Comptroller Mendoza-style free association exercises. Pritzker’s team, at least, is pretty good at this.


  20. - Lucky Pierre - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 2:14 pm:

    No I don’t agree you can make a determination who will win against an unnamed candidate 13 months before an election.

    I think every poll in the US leaned Hillary and we know how that worked out.

    I don’t think there is a single Democrat other than Chris Kennedy has forcefully criticized the Illinois Democrats failures and corruption.

    That is a winning issue in a general election.

    The fact that Democratic primary voters prefer JB tells me they like the Speaker’s policies.

    The general election will have a very different electorate than the primary. In the last Democratic primary for Governor 447,000 votes were cast statewide. There were 3.6 million votes cast in the general election.


  21. - Chris Widger - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 2:14 pm:

    ==real Republican believe in the sanctity of human life==

    This is nonsense. The “sanctity of life” debate has always been a non sequitur in the abortion debate–every time we raise the speed limit by five miles, we accept that it is worth trading human life for some perceived benefit. The best pro-abortion argument has always been a basic self-defense argument, and the best anti-abortion argument, is, well, that women should not have the right to defend themselves and their bodies.


  22. - People Over Parties - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 2:14 pm:

    Those who think this race is the Democrats’ to lose should be careful. People might not be crazy about Rauner, but Pritzker is not necessarily seen as a great alternative. And, if he gets the nod, the Madigan/Blago ties are gonna sting.

    The Dems need a better message. I’ve yet to fully understand what they stand for besides being against Rauner, and you can’t win on just being anti-Rauner.


  23. - Chris Widger - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 2:15 pm:

    ==I think every poll in the US leaned Hillary and we know how that worked out.==

    I believe Oswego Willy’s standard talking point here is that Hillary was projected to win Illinois by 15, and she did, so therefore the rest of the 2016 election uncertainty can be disregarded. Unlike the majority of his points, I find that a pretty compelling argument. How do you get around that?


  24. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 2:20 pm:

    ===The Dems need a better message. I’ve yet to fully understand what they stand for besides being against Rauner, and you can’t win on just being anti-Rauner.===

    Rauner ran a whole campaign on “Pat Quinn fails”

    Keep up. I saw the movie, Rauner won with that exact strategy.

    ===I think every poll in the US leaned Hillary and we know how that worked out===

    Clinton led by 16+ points in the polls and won Illinois by… 16 points… in Illinois. So there’s that. Good try though.

    ===It’s weird that the DGA press release focuses on how Rauner is bad because he signed the abortion bill that Democrats (presumably) wanted===

    It’s about chipping away Republicans from the Raunerites.

    Phony cafeteria conservatives like Sen. Oberweis and Mr. Wehrli understand, lol


  25. - RNUG - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 2:20 pm:

    == you can’t win on just being anti-Rauner. ==

    Rauner managed to win being anti-Quinn.


  26. - Anonymous - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 2:30 pm:

    ===Rauner ran a whole campaign on “Pat Quinn fails”===

    That was definitely part of his strategy. But, it was not the entire message. True or not, he successfully ran on “shaking up Springfield”, and ending a political culture that many saw as not working for them. Yes, anti-Quinn themes were definitely there, but he pivoted to a vision that involved the future…”bring back IL”


  27. - ??? - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 2:32 pm:

    Lake County dem, Rauner has pretty much acknowledged that he’s got no power to stop mean ol’ Madigan and the Dems (I mean, that ad with other states’ governors bashing Illinois because of Mike Madigan??) , so I’m not too sure that voters would believe he can stop more taxes.


  28. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 2:32 pm:

    ===…he successfully ran on “shaking up Springfield”, and ending a political culture that many saw as not working for them. Yes, anti-Quinn themes were definitely there, but he pivoted to a vision that involved the future…”bring back IL”===

    … and has failed miserably at it.

    By nearly every measure, Illinois is worse since Rauner became governor.


  29. - Lucky Pierre - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 2:35 pm:

    Rauner managed to win by also being anti Madigan and will paint whoever the Democratic candidate for Governor as well as every single competitive Democrat House and Senate race as being pro Madigan.

    I don’t see a huge Democratic wave if the Speaker is seeing push back even for Cook County Democrats.


  30. - People Over Parties - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 2:39 pm:

    ===… and has failed miserably at it.===

    Perhaps. But, can the Democrats project themselves as the ones capable of cleaning up the mess? So far, I just have not seen that happen, and the Speaker, fairly or unfairly, has not been helping. We shall see, though.


  31. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 2:39 pm:

    ===Rauner managed to win by also being anti Madigan and will paint whoever the Democratic candidate for Governor as well as every single competitive Democrat House and Senate race as being pro Madigan.===

    … and yet, Rauner can’t find a soul that will run with him as candidates for Comptroller or Treasurer.

    That might be purposeful. Rauner will concede to Mendoza and Frerichs to tamp down turnout and people willing to come out to vote.

    ===I don’t see a huge Democratic wave if the Speaker is seeing push back even for Cook County Democrats.==

    … especially if Mendoza and Frerichs are unopposed.

    Raunerism is truly about muting turnout and hoping no one votes and voters forget the failed Rauner term,


  32. - lake county democrat - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 2:43 pm:

    ??? Friday - good point, but 1) he’ll be running on a campaign of “vote for me and vote to reduce Madigan’s power in the statehouse”, 2) the tax increase was still less than what Quinn said “was going to happen, probably in November”; 3) if he’s reelected it’s a mandate to others not to raise taxes too much and 4) it can’t be less than if a Dem wins. I just don’t see voters making that fine of a distinction - the Dems are still seen as the party more likely to raise taxes, which is why Madigan was so concerned. They can take a couple of big hits, but the constant hikes coming at them wear on the psyche, I least I think that’s the fear.


  33. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 2:44 pm:

    === But, can the Democrats project themselves as the ones capable of cleaning up the mess? So far, I just have not seen that happen, and the Speaker, fairly or unfairly, has not been helping===

    Rauner is at 63% disapproval.

    So, there’s that, given Rauner’s own name will face that underwater polling.


  34. - People Over Parties - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 2:57 pm:

    ===So, there’s that, given Rauner’s own name will face that underwater polling.===

    Banking on Rauner’s unpopularity isn’t enough. It ignores the reasons people liked his original message in the first place. It was powerful, and it resonated. Just saying “Let’s get rid of Rauner and go back to the way things were” won’t bring the Dems a win.


  35. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 3:00 pm:

    ===Banking on Rauner’s unpopularity isn’t enough. It ignores the reasons people liked his original message in the first place===

    Shake up, bring bank, all failed.

    If people didn’t know that, Rauner wouldn’t BE underwater already.

    Pat Quinn failed.

    Bruce Rauner failed.

    It works. With 63% disapproval…


  36. - Lucky Pierre - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 3:02 pm:

    So the election for Governor for the pro Speaker, pro Democratic machine, tax avoiding billionaire with ties to Rod Blagoevich with no platform of change in Illinois is only leaning his way.

    That is before the barrage of ads coming.


  37. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 3:06 pm:

    ===So the election for Governor for the pro Speaker, pro Democratic machine, tax avoiding billionaire with ties to Rod Blagoevich with no platform of change in Illinois is only leaning his way.

    That is before the barrage of ads coming.===

    LOL…

    When Rauner gets a Comptroller and Treasurer to run with him, you can type that again without me giggling.

    No one wants to run with the toxic Rauner, who’s name will be on the ballot… statewide.


  38. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 3:47 pm:

    You guys are unbelievable. You got no problem with rauner running up billions in debt, forcing taxpayers to pay for abortions, and turning Illinois into a sanctuary state. Taxes went up on his watch, and the best defense you can come up with is that it’s a tiny bit less than when the democrat was governor? Even though he repeatedly promised that he could fix the problems without raising taxes? It’s all ok as long as your boy gets a win, I guess. This is why real conservatives will stay home next November.


  39. - City Zen - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 4:29 pm:

    ==This is why real conservatives will stay home next November.==

    I think you’re right, unless the Dem candidates reveal specifics on their tax plan prior to election.


  40. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 4:42 pm:

    ==I think you’re right, unless the Dem candidates reveal specifics on their tax plan prior to election.==

    Pfft, I’d rather have the Dem candidate. At least they won’t lie to us about lowering taxes, then magically forget about it after the election. Rauner has been saying this recently, while telling potential bond buyers that we now have a “permanent, dedicated revenue source”. Bruce is a snake, no matter what Lucky Pierre, Chris Widger, or lake county Dem wants us all to believe. “But, but but he doesn’t like Madigan”. Who cares


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