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State Sen. Bill Brady to kick off GOP bid for governor Wednesday

Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington)  |  AP file photo

Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) | AP file photo

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Updated: July 27, 2013 6:38AM

Republican state Sen. Bill Brady will officially launch his bid for governor on Wednesday, setting the stage for a four-way GOP primary.

It’s Brady’s third attempt at the governor’s mansion. In 2010, the Bloomington legislator narrowly eked out a primary win and then went on to lose to Gov. Pat Quinn in the general election.

In an interview with the Sun-Times on Tuesday, Brady insisted he would stand out from the crowd because “the voters know me.”

In a clear shot at millionaire venture capitalist Bruce Rauner, who has already hit the airwaves in anticipation of the March 2014 primary, Brady said his best asset is his history in the Illinois Senate state, where voters can review his record.

“In a big state like Illinois, running ads doesn’t make people comfortable with you,” Brady told the Sun-Times. “History and time makes people comfortable with you.”

Brady will announce his candidacy in a series of news conferences Wednesday, starting in Chicago and moving Downstate.

A four-way race threatens to further splinter an Illinois Republican party that has suffered from its own internal skirmishes, ranging from where members stand on gay marriage to immigration reform.

“I would have hoped that the Republican party and the business community would have learned from 2010,” said state Sen. Kirk Dillard, who is to formally launch his bid for governor next month. Dillard said Republican leaders in the state need to unite and get behind “someone who can win in the general election.”

Dillard, who himself ran unsuccessfully in 2010 — losing to Brady in the primary — said the business community and Republican county chairmen throughout the state were fragmented in their support, which meant a weakened candidate for the general election. Former Gov. Jim Edgar has loaned Dillard $20,000 and has told the Sun-Times he expects to formally endorse Dillard once his former chief of staff’s announcement is official.

Brady didn’t flinch when asked about Rauner, who is already miles ahead in fund-raising. While Brady had about $200,000 in his campaign fund at the close of the last reporting period, Rauner had $1.3 million.

“I think [Illinois] primaries have proven that millionaires don’t win it by being millionaires. You’ve got to lay the groundwork. The voters know me, they’ve shown that they can trust me,” Brady said.

“We won the last primary, we spent a little over $1 million, it’s no question that Mr. Rauner’s personal wealth can outspend anybody. We will raise the resources necessary to get our message out.”

Also running is Illinois state Treasurer Dan Rutherford who had about $750,000 in his campaign fund at the close of the last quarter.

Rutherford has been leading among Republicans in polls. However, Rauner has just started hitting the airwaves with political ads and his aggressive campaign will only grow more intense. He paints himself as an outsider to Springfield’s dysfunction and has said he scares politicians in both political parties. Rutherford, meanwhile, says he’s the only Republican in the race with a record of winning in a statewide general election.

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