* Before we begin, let’s look at the author’s bio…
Louis Jacobson is the senior correspondent at PolitiFact, the fact-checking website that is part of the Tampa Bay Times of Florida. He is also senior author of the Almanac of American Politics 2016 and was a contributing writer for the 2000 and 2004 editions. For Governing, Jacobson has written a column on state politics since the 2010 election cycle, including handicapping gubernatorial, state legislative and state attorney general races and the electoral college. Before that, he wrote a similar column for Stateline.org and Roll Call. He has also handicapped state and federal races for such publications as the Cook Political Report, the Rothenberg Political Report, PoliticsPA.com and the Tampa Bay Times.
In September of 2014, Jacobson rated the Quinn/Rauner race “Lean Republican.”
So, unlike yesterday’s goofy out of state CNN “pundit,” he has some real experience at this.
* On to Jacobson’s piece for Governing…
Three Republican-held governorships are so vulnerable that we’ve rated them lean Democratic. Those are the open seats being vacated by Paul LePage of Maine and Susana Martinez of New Mexico, as well as the seat held by incumbent Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, who announced his run for re-election earlier this week. […]
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R)
Rauner’s first term continues to be tough. A Republican in a strongly Democratic state, he’s fought an ongoing battle with the Democratic-controlled legislature that kept the state without a full budget for more than two years. The state remains in fiscal trouble, though, with over $15 billion in unpaid bills and the biggest public pension unfunded liability of any state. A decision to sign a bill providing state funding for abortions for low-income women in September, precipitated a war between the governor and social conservatives, possibly enough to provoke a primary challenge. Rauner has a vast personal fortune, but discontent within the GOP, combined with approval ratings in the mid-30s, point to a difficult re-election bid.
The Democratic field includes three figures from the populous Cook County: J.B. Pritzker, a multibillionaire and the brother of the former Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker; Chris Kennedy, a businessman and son of Robert F. Kennedy; and progressive state Sen. Daniel Biss. Pritzker appears to be in the best position, having secured endorsements from the AFL-CIO, key unions and Cook County Democratic officialdom. Perhaps most important, Pritzker is a self-funder, which is attractive to Democrats looking for a way to beat the deep-pocketed Rauner.
*** UPDATE *** Part of a DGA press release that also references the above projection…
This week, Bruce Rauner officially announced his reelection campaign with a web video, a paid TV ad profiling Rauner’s lack of job creation, and a distinct lack of campaign events with voters. On Sunday, he heads overseas for a week. […]
Earlier this week, National Journal’s Hotline ranked Rauner as the most likely incumbent to lose his seat:
“Rauner, who kicked off his bid for a second term with the help of his Harley-Davidson, remains the most-vulnerable governor. With the two-year-long budget battle completed despite Rauner’s veto, attention has pivoted to the Republican’s expansion of taxpayer-funded abortions that has alienated the base.”
Maybe week two will go better.
“Bruce Rauner’s reelection campaign is off to a rough start and its only five days old,” said DGA Illinois Communications Director Sam Salustro. “Rauner’s failures have simply caught up to him. Voters will not forget the two-year budget crisis he imposed on the state, the debt he piled up, and his inability to stem the flow of jobs and people out of state. Illinois is doing worse under Bruce Rauner and riding around on a Harley will not fix it.”