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A very rough road ahead for Rauner

Thursday, Mar 22, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Two prognosticating outfits moved their ratings since Tuesday night. Roll Call

It’s clear that Rauner has problems within the Republican base, a dynamic that no statewide GOP candidate can afford. When Republican Sen. Mark Kirk ran for re-election in 2016, he got sideways with grass-roots Republicans by opposing Trump and lost to Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth, 55 percent to 40 percent. Pritzker, who has ties to infamous Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich, certainly isn’t a perfect candidate. But he’s still a Democrat in a Democratic state in a Democratic year. The biggest winner in the race might be local television stations, as two mega-rich nominees battle in what could be the most expensive gubernatorial race in history.

We’re changing our rating from Tilts Democratic to Leans Democratic.

And don’t forget that national blue wave which is still building out there.

* Sabato’s Crystal Ball

Gov. Bruce Rauner (R-IL) endured a difficult night on Tuesday. Although he won his party’s primary to earn a reelection shot in November, the contest in some ways confirmed his overall weakness as the most endangered incumbent Republican governor facing the voters in 2018. As such, the Crystal Ball is moving the Illinois gubernatorial contest from Toss-up to Leans Democratic, the first time in the 2018 cycle that we have rated an incumbent U.S. senator, U.S. House member, or governor as an underdog for reelection. Rauner’s vulnerabilities are two-fold: his party base is not solidly behind him — the GOP primary made this abundantly clear — and he faces an energized Democratic Party in what is typically a blue state.

* Related…

* Democrats giddy after Illinois primary showing : More than 1.2 million people voted in Tuesday’s Democratic primary, a record number in more than a decade of midterms. Billionaire J.B. Pritzker won the primary for governor with almost 575,000 votes, defeating his closest rival by 20 points. Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner received about 360,000 votes in a GOP primary where he eked out a win over a conservative state lawmaker. Pritzker said Wednesday the results are an indication of how motivated Democrats are. He says the enthusiasm means he stands a good chance of beating Rauner.

* Is Bruce Rauner toast? In the span of one day, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s fortunes went from bad to worse. He was already widely considered to be the most vulnerable incumbent governor in the country. Then came Tuesday’s Illinois primary, where he spent $17 million in TV ads but barely squeaked out a victory against a nearly unknown state legislator. With Democrats already uniting behind the free-spending billionaire who will lead their ticket in the fall, Illinois Republicans are wondering: After Tuesday’s weak showing, does Rauner even have a prayer of winning reelection in November? … “The governor clearly has a lot of work to do but what he cannot do is focus on the past,” Trover said. “He’s going to have to look to what unites the party and for Bruce, that’ll be [Democratic Party Chairman and state House Speaker] Mike Madigan…you’ve already seen it today, Bruce’s message to voters will be: ‘I am the only thing standing between you and Mike Madigan.‘”

       

28 Comments
  1. - Hamlet's Ghost - Thursday, Mar 22, 18 @ 10:07 am:

    == It’s clear that Rauner has problems within the Republican base ==

    In essence, Bruce Rauner wants the IL GOP to surrender on abortion and LGBTQ rights in order to defeat organized labor and Michael Madigan, however much (most?) of the IL GOP base is not willing to make that trade.

    If Rauner wins in November, the right to life (anti-abortion) movement will be largely eradicated from IL politics.


  2. - wordslinger - Thursday, Mar 22, 18 @ 10:11 am:

    –“He’s going to have to look to what unites the party and for Bruce, that’ll be [Democratic Party Chairman and state House Speaker] Mike Madigan… –

    That’s been the message for years. If that’s such a winner, how do you explain Tuesday’s results?

    Rauner peddled The Big Lie that Ives is a Madigan stooge and she came this-close to beating him. Maybe it’s lost its juice.

    And “uniting the party” is a baby step. You can’t win statewide with just GOP votes.


  3. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Mar 22, 18 @ 10:14 am:

    ===If that’s such a winner, how do you explain Tuesday’s results===

    Well, he did win.

    ===You can’t win statewide with just GOP votes===

    True, but the Madigan thing works well with indies and some Dems.


  4. - We"ll See - Thursday, Mar 22, 18 @ 10:18 am:

    -”Bruce’s message to voters will be: ‘I am the only thing standing between you and Mike Madigan”-

    Great, Trover is ramping up Illinois’ very own version of “Build that Wall”


  5. - Not Rich - Thursday, Mar 22, 18 @ 10:20 am:

    In honor of our host, and his love of the White Sox… “HE GONE”


  6. - wordslinger - Thursday, Mar 22, 18 @ 10:28 am:

    –Well, he did win.–

    A historic victory.

    –the Madigan thing works well with indies and some Dems.–

    There’s no question in regards to Madigan’s unpopularity. I suspect it’s not enough, and Rauner needs a heckuva lot more to power through the headwinds he’s facing.

    Can an incumbent be re-elected without offering a positive reason after nearly four years?


  7. - Norseman - Thursday, Mar 22, 18 @ 10:28 am:

    === The biggest winner in the race might be local television stations, as two mega-rich nominees battle … ===

    The sad thing about this observation is that the news divisions of those stations will not see much if any of that largesse.


  8. - Not a Billionaire - Thursday, Mar 22, 18 @ 10:30 am:

    I don’t like Madigan but I would never vote for Rauner he is done. It’s a blue state in a blue year with a very unpopular red gov with a split party. It’s solid blue. The only question is how bad and how much downballot.


  9. - Huh? - Thursday, Mar 22, 18 @ 10:37 am:

    “Mike Madigan is the only thing standing between you and bruce rauner and his destructive agenda.‘

    Fixed it for you.


  10. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Mar 22, 18 @ 10:42 am:

    Rauner can’t win if he can’t get traditionalists like me supporting him. Since Tuesday, I’ve been trying to imagine how Rauner could get my support. Madigan fear isn’t strong enough.

    Madigan had no effect on how badly Rauner administered the executive branch. MJM was no issue when Rauner blew up his own staff repeatedly. Rauner isn’t just a poor governor regarding legislative issues - he’s an incompetent regarding executive issues as well.

    I will vote for Christine Rodagno if he runs as a third party candidate.


  11. - Anonymous - Thursday, Mar 22, 18 @ 10:49 am:

    I would speculate that the Rauner camp has waaaaaay more in the can regarding Blago and JB. Some R’s will stay home in November but most will realize they don’t want any part of JB/MJM


  12. - zatoichi - Thursday, Mar 22, 18 @ 10:49 am:

    If Rauner is ‘the only thing standing between you and Mike Madigan, who was the ‘between’ before Rauner came along? Seems Madigan was ‘worked’ with Governors before, but under Rauner we have dropped to some of the worse state financial outcomes in the country. Rauner is standing but not actually doing anything except talking and pointing fingers.


  13. - JakeCP - Thursday, Mar 22, 18 @ 10:52 am:

    Do we have any estimates regarding how many independents and moderate Republicans voted in the Democratic Primary. I generally agree that Rauner’s re-election odds look bleak, but is it as bad as it seems?

    I recall a few pundits discussing that some moderate Republicans were more interested in pulling a Democratic ballot to participate in all of the “action”.


  14. - Anonymous - Thursday, Mar 22, 18 @ 11:13 am:

    “I will vote for Christine Rodagno if she runs as a third party candidate.”

    Is this really a thing?


  15. - @misterjayem - Thursday, Mar 22, 18 @ 11:14 am:

    After a term as governor, Bruce Rauner still can’t point to a single accomplishment.

    Not one.

    JB may still lose this general election campaign, but I don’t seen how Rauner can possibly win it.

    – MrJM


  16. - SAP - Thursday, Mar 22, 18 @ 11:15 am:

    ==The biggest winner in the race might be local television stations, as two mega-rich nominees battle in what could be the most expensive gubernatorial race in history.==

    Heaven help us, but I think this is true. The general election campaign started yesterday before any of us were out of bed. Sheesh.


  17. - RNUG - Thursday, Mar 22, 18 @ 11:15 am:

    == … but what he cannot do is focus on the past ==

    If he wants to survive, that is EXACTLY what Rauner needs to do, focus on all his past mistakes and mis-steps, then correct course. The way I see it, this is his bare munumum list:

    Even though he isn’t a social conservative, he needs to try to mend the fences he destroyed with SB 40.

    Try to cut a deal with Madigan and get a budget passed, although that train left the station some time ago.

    Avoid further angering the unions, some of which are R voters, even though his entire game plan is to destroy the unions with Janus.

    I don’t think even doing all that will save him in November, but he doesn’t have a chance if he doesn’t try it.


  18. - A guy - Thursday, Mar 22, 18 @ 11:17 am:

    Anti Madigan and Anti Tax Hikes. It’s all we’ve got. You play the hand you’re dealt. Fortunately, we’re not running against FDR. If it’s enough, it’ll be barely enough. GOP and indies are going to have to decide that there’s only one thing worse than 4 more years of Rauner. And the other party has obliged.


  19. - Wildkit - Thursday, Mar 22, 18 @ 11:30 am:

    The Proft mafia keeps repeating (and the national guys seemed to have picked it up) that Kirk lost because he lost the GOP base.

    If anything, the numbers say he got crushed because moderates abandoned him in droves. He ran well behind Dold in the 10th and, if anything, Dold was well to his left in 2016. In most of the Chicago CDs he ran even with Trump and behind Munger. In the moderate-ish 6th District he ran closer to Trump than Munger or Roskam. You mean to say that HRC/Roskam voters bailed on Kirk because he wasn’t conservative enough?

    This was a self-service meme that folks like Ives willed into existence. If Rauner loses it won’t be because the GOP abandoned him, it will be because the moderates who backed him in 2014 did.


  20. - Blue dog dem - Thursday, Mar 22, 18 @ 11:33 am:

    Is Bruce Rauner toast? More like the moldy bread turned green.


  21. - PublicServant - Thursday, Mar 22, 18 @ 11:41 am:

    ===Can an incumbent be re-elected without offering a positive reason after nearly four years?===

    This time he’s gonna really shake up Springfield, and bring back Illinois from the brink it now sits upon due to him.


  22. - Tired - Thursday, Mar 22, 18 @ 12:32 pm:

    I like Lance but is “I am the only think standing between you and Mike Madigan” more powerful than “can Illinois afford another 4 years of Bruce Rauner?” Madigan bashing may poll well but it doesn’t transfer to the voting booth. Rauner has lost the public trust and how does a man that can’t tell the truth regain that trust?


  23. - Pundent - Thursday, Mar 22, 18 @ 12:40 pm:

    =Anti Madigan and Anti Tax Hikes. It’s all we’ve got. You play the hand you’re dealt.=

    Rauner is a victim of circumstance. The problem is that he created those circumstances. The message that got him elected resonated. He squandered the opportunity and refuses to acknowledge his own failings.


  24. - Winnin’ - Thursday, Mar 22, 18 @ 12:44 pm:

    Rauner rode into town buyin’ off everyone and threatenin’ those who disagreed with him. Buyin’ off other GOP members can go a long way, even if the threats are no longer effective.


  25. - A guy - Thursday, Mar 22, 18 @ 12:52 pm:

    ==Rauner rode into town buyin’ off everyone and threatenin’ those who disagreed with him==

    This wasn’t reinventing the wheel. His ego simply demanded he was the honcho signing the checks. On the other side, it just took a little longer to make out the deposit slip.


  26. - Anon - Thursday, Mar 22, 18 @ 12:56 pm:

    Kirk lost because his best staff (and JBT’s) went on to make Rauner likeable in 2014. Rauner is lost now (and will likely fall in November) because he stopped listening to those people in January 2015, then fired or prompted almost all of them to resign. He’d do well to recognize that this week.

    The Rauners’ biggest mistake is to think they are self-made in the political world. Inherently, politics requires teamwork and no one can get elected or stay elected on his own.


  27. - Wallinger Dickus - Thursday, Mar 22, 18 @ 3:59 pm:

    Four years ago Rauner won by:
    1) beating an unpopular incumbent who sold out the union voters who elected him four years earlier.
    2) being able to spend exponentially more than his opponent, if necessary.
    3) in a mid-term election of high tide for the Republican Party nationwide.
    4) because voters bought the tripe that he could shake up Springfield.
    This year:
    1) the unpopular incumbent couldn’t even win a primary for a lower office.
    2) not this time.
    3) can he surf in a tsunami?
    4) hahahahahahahaha


  28. - cardsfan - Thursday, Mar 22, 18 @ 7:12 pm:

    To piggy back off what VanillaMan stated: MJM didn’t appoint the head of DCFS who let children die on his watch. MJM didn’t appoint the head of Vet’s Affairs and then turn a blind eye when Vet’s died due to legionella in the water. MJM didn’t single handedly destroy social services and higher education. MJM didn’t try to drive public schools into total collapse. Rauner did all those things. But to hear Rauner tell it, he’s not in charge.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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