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“While we are loathe to kick an incumbent when he’s down, it’s hard to justify such a rating at this point”

Friday, Oct 5, 2018

* Cook Political Report

When looking at the Republican side of the ledger, there are three races that already appear to be Democratic pick ups. In Illinois, GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner is trailing Democratic billionaire J.B. Pritzker by anywhere from 16 to 22 points. This race has been in the Lean Democratic column, and while we are loathe to kick an incumbent when he’s down, it’s hard to justify such a rating at this point. The race moves to the Likely Democratic column. […]

The race between GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner and entrepreneur J.B. Pritzker that was billed as the Battle of the Billionaires has fizzled. It’s not that the candidates aren’t spending record sums of money, it’s simply that there doesn’t seem to be a lot to see here. As a Republican in a very blue state who spent most of the first three years of his term locked in an ugly battle with House Speaker Mike Madigan and the Democratic-controlled state legislature over the budget, Rauner has been an underdog since the start of this race. He then faced an unexpectedly competitive primary that he eked out with a 51-percent victory.

Pritzker has been on a roll since the March primary and isn’t content to sit on his lead. The campaign has launched a barrage of negative ads at Rauner. Rauner has hit back, but his attacks haven’t landed the same punch. Despite this, Pritzker is having the worst week of the campaign and it won’t matter. An investigation by Cook County revealed that Pritzker defrauded the county by having all the toilets removed from his home in an effort to lower his property taxes. Illinois voters have a pretty high tolerance for scandal and this one doesn’t appear to clear the bar. Rauner was also hit with another problem this week as questions have arisen as to whether his office sat on information about a deadly outbreak of Legionnaires Disease at a veterans home. Attention quickly shifted from missing toilets to fatalities. In other words, Rauner can’t catch a break.

At this point in the race, there is no path to victory for Rauner. The contest is in the Likely Democrat column.


* Meanwhile, the Champaign News-Gazette has endorsed Gov. Rauner’s reelection bid

This state must change, and much of Rauner’s prescription for curing what ails Illinois would make things better. Pritzker’s policy proposals will make a bad situation considerably worse — higher taxes, dramatic spending increases and an even-more-poisonous climate for job creation.

It would be a return to the one-party Democratic misrule of 2003-15 under former Govs. Rod Blagojevich and Pat Quinn and a Democratic Legislature ruled by House Speaker Michael Madigan.

If polls are correct, Pritzker is a shoo-in for election. But as those polls have trended in his favor, Pritzker has become more and more vague.

They’re right about Pritzker’s increasing vagueness, as Wednesday’s debate and Thursday’s press conference clearly showed.

- Posted by Rich Miller   20 Comments      

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