* Gov. Rauner’s campaign manager Betsey Ankney tells Greg Hinz that there is a path to victory for her boss…
“In our focus groups, people can’t cite a single positive thing about Pritzker even after he’s spent $80 million” on TV ads, Ankney said. That’s why, when Rauner in the spring spent “$4 million over six weeks” running ads tying Pritzker to imprisoned ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, “his positive rating dropped 20 (percentage) points.”
Ankney declined to release the latest results from her campaign’s pollster, Dave Sackett. But said Rauner has pulled “closer than any public poll indicates.” The closest poll that I’m aware of came a couple of weeks ago from We Ask America for Capital Fax. It showed Pritzker ahead just 36 percent to 27 percent, a nine-point margin. (Pritzker hasn’t released his poll figures either, but it’s believed they show him much further ahead.)
Ankney said the campaign will seek to drive those numbers down more by staying on the attack. “There’s a whole host of things to come,” she said, indicating that among them are the Pritzker family’s failed Superior Bank. “The oppo book on him is very thick. You can expect to see a lot more. . . .He’s a target-rich environment.”
That having been said, Ankney’s view appears to be a minority one, even among Republicans. “There is a path to re-election for Rauner,” says one insider. “I just don’t think they’ve found it yet.”
“Maybe if Hillary Clinton was president and Democrats weren’t crawling out of their skin,” said another.
Pritzker put the blame on his sister Penny for the failure of Superior Bank on the FBI wiretaps…
“What happened to her bank?” Blagojevich asked. “Did it collapse or something?”
“Yeah, she was chairman of the bank,” Pritzker said. “It had subprime loans. I mean bad stuff.”
“Superior Bank turned out to be an inferior bank,” the governor remarked.
“Inferior. Exactly, exactly. Very good,” Pritzker said. “I like that. Inferior Bank. I haven’t thought about that. That’s a good one.”
However, the Pritzker campaign is currently running an ad which falsely claims that Rauner owns a company “which is paid millions to keep children from their parents.” You go down that road and it’s tough to complain when the other side does it back to you.
Even so, the Rauner campaign has cycled through three different messaging tracks in the past month or so. They kicked everything off with a Blagojevich ad, then switched to the toilet issue and now they’re on a Madigan track.
“How do you build a narrative if you’re changing messages every 2 weeks?” a Democratic pal of mine asked yesterday.
But, hey, this is politics. And just about anything can happen in politics, which is why I love it so much.
By the way, I heard weeks ago that the Rauner folks were touting a poll showing the Republican trailing by 8 points, which is 1 point closer than the poll I commissioned.