* Greg Hinz thinks Gov. Rauner needs to start attacking Rep. Jeanne Ives…
Content in the extent of his wealth and the power of his incumbency, Gov. Bruce Rauner this winter has effectively ignored his primary election foe, conservative state Rep. Jeanne Ives of Wheaton. Instead, he’s been acting like Republicans already have re-crowned him as their champion, concentrating all his fire and energy on Democratic frontrunner J.B. Pritzker
The events of the past 24 hours show the limits of that strategy.
First, in the only debate they’re likely to have, before the Chicago Tribune editorial board, Ives gobbled him right up, seemingly scoring points at will. The Tribune’s coverage echoed that, and its editorial today broadly hinted that an Ives endorsement may well be on the way.
Then, news emerged that Ives finally has found the moneybags she’s needed, as ex-Rauner backer Dick Uihlein sent her a check for $500,000 that may be the first of a series.
Those twin developments have changed things. If nothing else, Ives’ name recognition probably has doubled. Rauner remains the favorite. But he could well just stagger across the finish line in March. And given the volatility of the electorate in the age of Donald Trump, an Ives win is not out of reach.
You want to avoid that fate, governor? Then quit whining about Mike Madigan and start acting like you would against any Democratic foe: Attack. Engage. Contrast your views and record with hers.
I can definitely see the reasons for firing back.
The other side of this coin is that Rauner has a huge lead; Ives is almost totally unknown and still doesn’t have the cash to make this a real race; attacking someone on his right flank could further alienate his party’s “base” voters; and she’s a woman, which makes things trickier (remember my admonition that just because Donald Trump got away with doing something doesn’t mean others can do the same).
* The Question: Should Rauner retaliate against Ives? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments with your own suggestions, please.