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Richard Porter was fourth person Rauner asked to run in his place

Thursday, Dec 20, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Shia Kapos

Richard Porter was the fourth person Gov. Bruce Rauner approached to run for governor. The Chicago attorney who also serves as an Illinois RNC National Committeeman told POLITICO it wasn’t so gauche as to be an outright ask.

“I would have described it as more of an aside in a strategy conversation focused more on how he could win (rather) than an offer,” Porter said of their telephone call. Rauner also approached state Sen. Karen McConnaughay, Cubs owner Todd Ricketts and then-GOP attorney general candidate Erika Harold.

Rauner “was in to win,” Porter said. “He was never a quitter. To the contrary. He was always focused on finding the best path to winning. And if that meant he should fall on his sword, then he was willing to do that — and give millions of his money away to boot. I think Rauner’s comments on this have been misunderstood.”

Porter’s referring to political watchers who say Rauner’s courting of others was a desperate act by a candidate who thought he’d lose. But Porter says Rauner just wanted to be assured of a win.



  1. - Cheryl44 - Thursday, Dec 20, 18 @ 10:02 am:

    If he was in it to win perhaps campaigning would have helped.

  2. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Dec 20, 18 @ 10:08 am:

    As an idealogue, yes, Rauner wanted to win.

    As a person with an ego who pretended to be things, misled people, hurt people, Rauner didn’t want to be what he was, via the ballot… a failure.

    Both can be true.

    Rauner will go down as a colossal failure as a governor, repudiated by the electorate at a level not seen for an incumbent in a century.

    Rauner may have wanted to save his agenda, I believe that part, but being humiliated like Rauner was this November was what Bruce and Diana Rauner wanted to avoid.

  3. - Ole' Nelson - Thursday, Dec 20, 18 @ 10:08 am:

    Richard Poerter’s attempt to paint Rauner as doing the right thing for the right reasons flies in the face of four years of recorded failures and self-serving behaviorby the Governor. I am sure that some will buy this spin, but likely far fewer than would have believed it four years ago. He has solidified his legacy.

  4. - Barrington - Thursday, Dec 20, 18 @ 10:09 am:

    Nice comments and spin by a professional politician.

  5. - Tommydanger - Thursday, Dec 20, 18 @ 10:09 am:

    “Rauner just wanted to be assured of a win.”

    Seems like he should have thought about that three years and eleven months ago.

  6. - Concerned Dem - Thursday, Dec 20, 18 @ 10:14 am:

    So Rauner was using these “asks” to set the stage for him to tell us / himself that his humiliating defeat was because “he really didn’t want it anyway”.

    The fragility of Rauner’s ego is fascinating and frightening. January 14th can’t get here fast enough.

  7. - Liandro - Thursday, Dec 20, 18 @ 10:16 am:

    Those who wish to believe the worst will do so, no matter what other (maybe better) understandings of the situation might be out there. Disparaging our opponents is a key part of psyching up for the immense amounts of work and money needed.

    Rauner was guilty of exactly that, too, plenty of times. It’s the culture of politics (and many other things). I state needs super-human levels of leadership, cooperation, and understanding, but obviously all the players are still human.

  8. - don the legend - Thursday, Dec 20, 18 @ 10:17 am:

    ==He was always focused on finding the best path to winning.==

    Porter needs to help Rauner get his money back on his Garman. It led him down the wrong path.

  9. - Blue Dogs are Blind, Deaf, and Dumb - Thursday, Dec 20, 18 @ 10:18 am:

    Rauner did a really poor job as Governor, never understanding that his role was to promote Illinois, not trash it. He led the Republicans down an electoral strategy of bashing Illinois in the last election and the results prove how astonishingly bad that idea was. Rauner conceded before 8:30pm election night and his party experienced a net loss of seats as well as a complete shut out in statewide offices.

  10. - a drop in - Thursday, Dec 20, 18 @ 10:19 am:

    Richard Porter issued a statement Rudy Giuliani would have been proud of.

  11. - Now What? - Thursday, Dec 20, 18 @ 10:21 am:

    A while back, OW referenced the Buchanans from The Great Gatsby towards Bruce and Diana Rauner. Never truer and more apt, as the Rauner’s “smash things up and retreat back to their money.” Rauner and Raunerism is a colossal failure. They’ll be fine though, and Illinois and the GOP will be better when they’re gone.

  12. - Cubs in '16 - Thursday, Dec 20, 18 @ 10:22 am:

    ===If he was in it to win perhaps campaigning would have helped.===

    Rauner never stopped campaigning long enough to govern. That was his one constant.

  13. - Norseman - Thursday, Dec 20, 18 @ 10:30 am:

    Porter? Really? Heck if he was that desperate to bail, Willy would have been a great candidate. The effort to win the write-in campaign has been difficult without money, but Rauner was offering cash. Next time Bruce, take out a Craig ad.

  14. - Wensicia - Thursday, Dec 20, 18 @ 10:31 am:

    Rauner “was in to win”. He knew that wasn’t going to happen, so he tried to abandon ship. He didn’t want a loss attached to his name. It’s interesting that he still thought his millions could achieve victory. He still doesn’t get it; his failure as governor damaged the ILGOP, not just his candidacy.

  15. - Realist - Thursday, Dec 20, 18 @ 10:38 am:

    I can’t believe people actually pay their hard earned money to subscribe to this blog. What a joke.

  16. - wordslinger - Thursday, Dec 20, 18 @ 10:41 am:

    The GOP nomination was never Rauner’s to give to anyone.

    To set up a candidate for the primary, Rauner would have had to announce in early fall 2017 he wasn’t running. That “choice” would not be assured of the nod, by any means. Ives would certainly have run, and perhaps more.

    After the primary, the nomination wasn’t Rauner’s to give. He would have been the lamest of ducks.

    The choice would have been made by the state central committee. And there was a candidate in the wings who got 48% of the primary vote.

  17. - Michelle Flaherty - Thursday, Dec 20, 18 @ 10:47 am:

    Realist, the blog is mostly free.
    Please try again with a better insult.

  18. - @misterjayem - Thursday, Dec 20, 18 @ 10:47 am:

    “I can’t believe people actually pay their hard earned money to subscribe to this blog.”

    Dude, who are you paying to read this blog?

    – MrJM

  19. - Baloneymous - Thursday, Dec 20, 18 @ 10:47 am:

    Rauner was looking for an out, even if he had to spend millions to do it, and all the while not even understanding the process. There is no other way to spin this Mr Porter. This was never about winning. It was about losing and not taking the blame for it.

  20. - Chris P. Bacon - Thursday, Dec 20, 18 @ 10:48 am:

    Porter thinks he’s clever with his convoluted words. In truth he just reminds everyone why they don’t take the state party seriously.

  21. - Matts - Thursday, Dec 20, 18 @ 11:03 am:

    How great a failure was Bruce Rauner? It’s been reported in several (non-existent) newspapers in the Kankakee area, that at different times a loud ‘sigh of relief’ has been heard emanating from the grave of Governor Len Small, whom heretofore has held the title of worst governor of Illinois.

  22. - northshore cynic - Thursday, Dec 20, 18 @ 11:03 am:

    Rauner and Porter have done more to destroy the Illinois Republican Party than Mike Madigan could ever do. Indeed, they take the place of Jeane Ives as Madigan’s favorite politicians.

  23. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Dec 20, 18 @ 11:12 am:

    (Tips cap to - Now What? -)

    - Norseman -,

    As a perennial write in candidate I let you down and the hard work you do. We’ll try again someday.

    - Realist -

    If you’re paying to read this blog, yikes, you need to maybe look into what else you’re paying for, and who are you paying?

  24. - Linus - Thursday, Dec 20, 18 @ 11:27 am:

    I’m starting to cop a resentment that Rauner didn’t ask ME to step in for him. Because it sounds like everyone else got an invite.

  25. - Retired Educator - Thursday, Dec 20, 18 @ 12:16 pm:

    If I had been asked; my slogan would have been “Vote for me, I might not be any better, but I sure as hell couldn’t be any worse” He was completely inept at the job. I know a lot of people who could have done a better job.

  26. - Skeptic - Thursday, Dec 20, 18 @ 12:17 pm:

    “Dude, who are you paying to read this blog?” [Shuffles feet and whistles innocently]

  27. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Dec 20, 18 @ 12:20 pm:

    ===my slogan would have been “Vote for me, I might not be any better, but I sure as hell couldn’t be any worse”===

    And that is exactly why Rauner’s recruitment effort was so ridiculous.

    He offered to fund their campaigns.

    Think about that.

    The only way they could have a hope of winning would be to distance themselves as far from him as possible and attack him every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

  28. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Dec 20, 18 @ 12:33 pm:

    If “Madigan” was toxic, being “Rauner’s hand picked replacement” was going to be far more toxic, as Rauner would’ve given his blessing any monies, never giving anyone a chance to be that “independent Rauner pick”.

    Plus, as - Wordslinger - points out, 48% of the voted party wanted Ives. Can’t ignore that.

  29. - Pundent - Thursday, Dec 20, 18 @ 12:37 pm:

    So Rauner wanted a stand in who would have been entirely beholden to him as his or her bank. And said candidate would have been expected to deliver Rauner’s failed message. In other words he wanted to bankroll his punching bag.

  30. - Illinois Resident - Thursday, Dec 20, 18 @ 12:52 pm:

    Maybe if his policies actually helped the people of this state. Sorry, trickle down does not work for the middle class.

  31. - NoGifts - Thursday, Dec 20, 18 @ 1:09 pm:

    Wouldn’t Rauner just have had to announce he wasn’t running for governor a second time and the new republican candidates would have made themselves known? I don’t understand why rauner was asking people to run at all.

  32. - Anonymous - Thursday, Dec 20, 18 @ 1:22 pm:

    I don’t think Rauner inderstood why Rauner was asking people to run in his stead.

    A humiliating end to a disastrous administration.

  33. - not really - Thursday, Dec 20, 18 @ 1:29 pm:

    I will really miss the Rauner content on this blog. This story is so amazing. Don’t know who porter is, but ha may have been better than Alan Keyes ‘04

  34. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Dec 20, 18 @ 2:38 pm:

    Rauner asking people to run in his place is absolutely pathetic and infuriating. What a legacy.

  35. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Dec 20, 18 @ 3:13 pm:

    The people who Rauner attacked for his entire term and who demoralized and soundly defeated him, stand up and take a bow. The dude thought it was going to be easy to come into politics and wage warfare, knock people around. Boy did he find out differently. Political reality—other people’s power and rights—is much different than the rarefied world of multimillion dollar corporate ownership and management.

  36. - Perrid - Thursday, Dec 20, 18 @ 3:37 pm:

    I’m still confused by the people who are mad Rauner tried to duck out after the primary. He saw the writing on the wall and 1) didn’t want to fight a losing battle and 2) wanted a (small) chance that a different Republican could win. That’s my (outsider’s) read.

    Others have said it was just so he could save face, which might be true, or it might not. Either way I just don’t see the outrage over someone facing reality.
    I get the other leaders in the party throwing him under the bus. If it’s not all Rauner’s fault they have to admit it’s the party itself that caused the failure. So they have a stake in hyping up this story. It’s the refular people’s outrage that surprises me. You really WANT him to have been completely out of touch with reality when it comes to his chances?

  37. - Skeptic - Thursday, Dec 20, 18 @ 3:47 pm:

    “I’m still confused by the people who are mad Rauner tried to duck out after the primary.”
    Sports analogy: A football team has a quarterback controversy. Half the team backs Player A, the other half backs Player B. A bitter and divisive locker room battle ensues. Player A prevails. Then Player A says, “Nah, I didn’t want to play anyway.” That would certainly honk me off.

  38. - Pundent - Thursday, Dec 20, 18 @ 3:56 pm:

    Perrid - Rauner “selecting” his proxy candidate is the height of arrogance. Rauner was so fervent in his belief that his agenda was right that he was willing to pay for an empty suit to deliver it. It’s an insult to his party but more importantly the intelligence of the voters.

  39. - Perrid - Thursday, Dec 20, 18 @ 3:57 pm:

    @Skeptic, was it “I didn’t want to be the governor anyway” or was it “I’m not going to win, let’s see if we can get someone who can”

    Now, the time to have that discussion should have been before the primary (though I will laugh in the face of anyone who thinks Ives would have won in the General). Maybe the primary was a wake up call.

    I might be giving him too much credit, or you too little. Who knows.

  40. - Skeptic - Thursday, Dec 20, 18 @ 4:13 pm:

    @Perrid: I see your point, and agree, before the Primary was the time to make that decision. If he had, it’s possible that Ives wouldn’t have been the front runner.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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