* Craig Wall…
Bruce Rauner, in his final month as governor, revealed in an exclusive interview that he tried to convince two men and two women to run in his place this election cycle.
“And I said I’ll step aside, I’ll give you huge financial resources, you run for governor, I’ll support you. You have as good or better chance to get elected than me. All four of them said no, too tough, too unlikely, too difficult,” said Governor Bruce Rauner.
Sources say former state senator Karen McConnaughey was one of them, when reached by phone she declined to comment. Sources also say Cubs part-owner Todd Ricketts was unsuccessfully recruited by Rauner. […]
“When President Trump won the White House, but lost Illinois by 16 points, I think 16 to 17 points, that changed the dynamic from good chance for reelection to very, very difficult chance for reelection,” Rauner said.
* Rick Pearson…
Sources said Rauner’s recruitment effort also included Todd Ricketts, a member of the family that owns the Chicago Cubs who is now finance chairman of the Republican National Committee; and Erika Harold, an Urbana attorney who at the time was the GOP nominee for attorney general. She ultimately lost to Democratic state Sen. Kwame Raoul. A source close to Harold said Rauner contacted her about replacing him on the ticket in August, mere months before the general election. […]
McConnaughay, who retired from the legislature in September, said Rauner’s effort to remove himself from the ticket was “indicative of how he governed” and how he repeatedly sought to avoid blame for failures.
“He tried to take himself out the same way he came in. He never learned the job,” McConnaughay said.
“He really came into office with this belief that he had some sort of mandate to strong-arm his agenda through. But he never understood the process. He didn’t try to understand the process. He didn’t think he needed to understand the process,” she said. “As a result, he demonstrated a lack of respect for the process.”
* Greg Bishop…
[Rep. Jeanne Ives] said she was not one of the four asked.
“It was obvious from the beginning that he was not serious about winning the race so he destroyed Republicans up and down the ticket by not bowing out politely and letting someone else take the lead,” Ives said.
She said there’s no doubt in her mind GOP leadership in Illinois knew about this and “let this go on.” She demanded top leadership step down.
“It’s really unfortunate for everybody involved in politics who now completely understand that [Rauner] essentially bought his race and then lied down to the Democrats and was never going to be the watchdog that we need in the face of Pritzker’s tax increase and increased spending that will drive Illinois to the brink of disaster,” Ives said. […]
“Politics is a very tough game,” Ives said. “If you’re heart’s not in it, it will show through and voters will know you’re not authentic and Rauner was not authentic and voters knew it.”
“I hope it’s a wake up call for all these other elected officials who sat on the sidelines while Rauner lied about who I am and what I stand for and they let him get away with it,” Ives said.
*** UPDATE 1 *** Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider
Neither myself nor the staff at the Illinois Republican Party had any knowledge of the discussions Governor Rauner had regarding his candidacy.
*** UPDATE 2 *** Daily Herald…
Karen McConnaughay said Rauner approached her in April about taking his place, but she quickly rebuffed his proposal.
“I was concerned in my conversations that he didn’t really understand that if he really did want to take his name off the ballot, that he couldn’t just pick a replacement,” she said. “He hadn’t sought any counsel about the process, so he couldn’t understand it.” […]
In the end, McConnaughay said the conversation mostly focused on the protocols of replacing him on the ballot and her trying to explain to him that it’s not something he gets to do in a vacuum.
“It was not the kind of conversation you could take seriously, because he had not contemplated the process of how any of that would work,” she said. “To replace a sitting person on the ballot is the work of the party, not a hand-picked choice. I was flattered that he thought of me, but there’s a whole process to this, and I told him to do careful consideration to all of that before you have conversations with people about replacing him on the ballot.”
“They knew that Rauner was not in for the fight,” said Ives, R-Wheaton. “There’s no doubt in my mind that they knew he asked others to run. [Schneider] can say what he wants to all day long, I do not believe him.”
McConnaughay said she didn’t know if GOP officials were aware Rauner wanted someone else to take over in the race against Pritzker.
“I only know what I know and I’m not interested in engaging in conspiracy theories, I’ll leave that to Representative Ives,” McConnaughay said.
*** UPDATE 3 *** Cook County Republican Chairman…
Sean Morrison condemns Bruce Rauner;
calls for emergency Illinois GOP Meeting
Chicago, IL – To learn yesterday that Bruce Rauner secretly tried to abdicate his candidacy - on several occasions - is an affront to everyone in the Illinois Republican Party and the entire State of Illinois. It is an egregious betrayal of trust that countless members of the Republican Party placed in him, and that 1.7 Million residents of Illinois had when they cast their vote for him in November.
I personally asked the Governor on two separate occasions before the Primary if he was committed to his re-election. Both times, to my face, he made clear that he was all in – not only for himself but for all Statewide candidates. We now know, by his own admission, that he deceived me and others.
Evidently, the deception didn’t end there. After the primary, Bruce explicitly promised a statewide absentee ballot and early voting program to boost Republican turnout. Was the program ever implemented? No. And his answer to questions about this program’s failure was nothing more than continued excuses.
It is abundantly clear now that Rauner’s lack of commitment to his own campaign for re-election brought about complete failure. But he didn’t just fail himself, he failed each and every Republican candidate across the state, and as a result, we lost in record numbers; many races we might have otherwise won had his commitments been kept.
It saddens me to have to say this, but this private surrender by Bruce Rauner shows a lack of loyalty, integrity, and character. Many good people across our state, including myself, stood with and supported Bruce Rauner over the last four years even in the midst of many horrible policy decisions made by the governor. But we remained loyal, steadfast and committed to the Governor and all Republican Party candidates – from the top to the bottom of the ticket.
Every person that committed their time, effort and money to re-elect the Governor, from the 75 year old retiree making phone calls to the 18 year old high schooler who walked door to door in the rain for the Governor and the entire Republican ticket is owed an apology.
As a Republican elected official and a member of the Illinois Republican State Central Committee, this kind of betrayal and deception is totally unacceptable and has no place within our party. For this reason, I will call for an emergency meeting of the Illinois Republican Party State Central Committee to address this deeply troubling matter and to immediately forge a plan forward to rebuild our party as one that will fight for the working families of Illinois and will challenge Illinois Democratic Party policies that have forced our state into economic peril.