Rauner asks opponents to call for Dems to stay out of primary
BY NATASHA KORECKI Political Reporter January 27, 2014 11:41AM
Republican primary candidate for governor Bruce Rauner is asking his opponents to call on Democratic forces to stay out of the primary race in Illinois.
Rauner’s request comes as national Dems are gearing up to fund a blast of ads against the perceived front-runner in the four-way primary.
“Republican primary voters deserve to know whether Bill Brady, Kirk Dillard, and Dan Rutherford are working together with Pat Quinn and his allies to try to hijack the Republican primary,” said Chip Englander, campaign manager for Bruce Rauner. “Will they side with grassroots Illinois Republicans who want to choose our party’s nominee, or will they side with Pat Quinn’s efforts to attack Bruce Rauner?”
“The longer they stay silent, the more obvious it is that they condone and encourage this Democratic partisan attempt to meddle in the Republican primary,” Englander added.
The response from Rutherford campaign was forceful:
“Rutherford has absolutely no involvement in this rumored coalition. To suggest that Rutherford’s silence is ‘condoning or encouraging’ such activity is ludicrous,” said Rutherford spokesman Brian Sterling. “Anyone who has the money and wants to spend it buying TV time is entitled to their share of the airwaves. He, of all people, should recognize that. Rauner should be worrying about things he can control.”
Campaigns for Kirk Dillard and Bill Brady did not have immediate comment.
It’s an interesting tactic by Rauner. His opponents have accused him of being too cozy with Democrats, so now he’s asking them to put up or shut up.
His opponents have little incentive to bite. With Rauner mopping up all the mega-donor money, his competitors — particularly Dillard and Brady — lack resources to go up on TV to compete with Rauner’s dominance on the airwaves. Third party interference may be all they’ve got in that respect.
Earlier this month, Jack Dorgan, the head of the Illinois Republican Party charged that “Pat Quinn and the DGA are showing a blatant disregard for the voters of Illinois,” by funding efforts to attack Rauner.
Dorgan said it would set a dangerous precedent if opposing parties began interfering in the sanctity of primaries.
“Democrats already have a troubling pattern of getting involved in Republican primaries in other states like Indiana, Missouri, and Nevada,” Dorgan said in a statement. “This particular scheme speaks to Gov. Quinn’s arrogance, his complete lack of credibility and honesty, and his own lack of confidence in his ability to win in November. The Republican Party won’t stand for it, and the voters of Illinois won’t stand for it.”