* AP: Humbled Illinois governor admits errors, pleads for 2nd term: A humbled Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, one of the most endangered state executives in the country, promised Thursday to be less confrontational and more understanding of his political opponents’ views if voters give him a second chance in the November election. Fighting an uphill battle for re-election in a Democratic-leaning state, the first-term Republican delivered an unorthodox address that was part apology, part State of the State address, and part stump speech. Gone was the brash talk of the private-equity investor who once suggested a government shutdown might be necessary to reform the state. Rauner acknowledged that he misjudged the difficulty of government change, and that his stubbornness helped enable a painful, two-year budget standoff with majority Democrats in the Legislature.
* WSIL TV: Gov. Rauner reflects on time as governor, reveals plan for future: Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner made his case to voters with less than two months to go until election day. In a 30-minute-long speech Thursday, Rauner reflected on his four years as governor and the lesson’s he’s learned as head of state. “I’ve grown in office, I’ve changed,” Rauner said “We’ve made progress. I know we can work together to get even more done.”
* ABC 7: Rauner slams Pritzker in speech: Pritzker’s character was the target for the last half of Rauner’s speech, as he accused the Democrat of having off shore bank accounts and avoiding property taxes. “His behavior shows him to be a person utterly lacking in the integrity and character we need in public office,” Rauner said. “Well, Bruce Rauner has no character when he doesn’t get a budget passed and cost working families jobs,” Pritzker said
* Politico: Will voters buy Rauner’s apology speech?: Bruce Rauner isn’t the first governor to stand, hat-in-hand, in the homestretch of an election. After a combative three-and-a-half years, the embattled GOP incumbent — trailing badly in the polls — wants voters to know that a second term would be different. … It’s a tough speech for the usually brazen private-equity-investor-turned pol who allowed the state to go two years without a budget. Rauner was remorseful talking about the toll the budget stalemate had on regular folks. “It kept me up at night worrying about the disruption that many families experienced,” he said.
* Sun-Times: Rauner, Pritzker agree character key to race, but each says other has none: Rauner delivered his speech at the Hilton, which is one of 26 hotels where workers are on strike in Chicago. Thousands of workers are fighting for better healthcare and higher wages. Pritzker’s campaign sought to make light of the location, asking reporters — many of whom are union members — whether they’d attend the governor’s speech. Several television cameramen opted out. But two of the hotels on strike are Hyatts, which are owned by the Pritzker family.
* Tribune: In mea culpa to voters, Rauner pleads for second term by saying he’s not perfect but has grown: “Admittedly I may have overdone it on the courage part at times. I’ve done things that cost me politically, because I was more focused on doing what was right,” he said. “I stand before you today a man of no less courage, but perhaps greater understanding.” Rauner’s admissions were reminiscent of the 2015 Chicago mayoral run-off campaign, when a re-election seeking Rahm Emanuel ran ads in which he donned a sweater and acknowledged he can “rub people the wrong way or talk when I should listen” and said he could do better. Still, Rauner defended the disruption and dysfunction created in a politically divisive first term that pitted a rookie Republican governor against a Democratic legislature along ideological lines.
* Illinois News Network: Rauner: Budget impasse was a fight for reform: “Ask yourself why Mr. Pritzker has voiced zero concern for the corruption in our state,” Rauner said. “He might be the only person in Illinois who doesn’t think corruption is a problem.”
* Illinois Public Radio: Gov. Rauner Tries to Reset Campaign: Rauner acknowledged problems with his time in office — like the two-year budget stalemate. But he framed that as a fight for HIS ideas about reform, which he said required “courage.” “I may have overdone it on the courage part at times — politically — because I was more focused on doin’ what was right.”
* WGN TV: Rauner: Pritzker ‘lacking in the integrity and character’ to be Illinois governor: “A man caught on FBI wiretap trying to buy political office from a criminally corrupt politician is not worthy of the highest office in our state,” he said. Rauner is warning voters that if elected, Pritzker will raise taxes and allow a culture of corruption. But Rauner was introspective. “I’m a better governor now than when I took office because of what I’ve learned,” Rauner said. … Rauner accused Pritzker of dodging the press. The governor did not take questions from reporters before or after Thursday’s speech.