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GOP gubernatorial primary 30 days to go: Who’s up, who’s down

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Updated: February 17, 2014 4:55PM

Today marks 30 days until the March 18th Republican gubernatorial primary in Illinois. The four-way race is intensifying with TV ads up from anti-Bruce Rauner groups and in some markets for Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford. Of course, Rauner continues to hit the airwaves as he has since December.
Who’s up?
State Sen. Kirk Dillard: The Hinsdale Republican’s campaign was seen as flailing until two major happenings last week. The Illinois Education Association endorsed him, with a promise of much-needed funding to his campaign. That has the potential to mean he could get up on TV in the last week of the race; maybe even the last two weeks.
The second Dillard happening: He notched an endorsement from the suburban Daily Herald newspaper. The newspaper covers Chicago collar counties, which many loyal Republicans populate
Meanwhile, at a Chris Christie fund-raising event last week, state Sen. Bill Brady declared it was a two-way race between himself and Rauner. The comment came after a Tribune/WGN poll showed Brady with 20 percent of the vote behind Rauner’s 40 percent.
Who’s Down?
No surprise. Dan Rutherford is not only battling sexual harassment allegations but he deep-sixed a tax-payer funded report that, with great fanfare, he had launched to clear his name. The move is sure to only raise more questions and continue to dog him.
Where’s the money?
Rauner is still on top when it comes to raising money. But Dillard’s potential infusion from the IEA makes him more of a contender. At the same time, third party money continues to pour into the race — including from public sector unions that are funding efforts to derail Rauner’s campaign.
Up Ahead: This week’s marquee event is Tuesday’s Springfield governor’s debate with the Citizens Club of Springfield. It will be the first debate where all four candidates are expected to attend since an explosive lawsuit charging sexual harassment was filed against Rutherford. Rutherford has maintained (though offering no evidence) that Rauner’s campaign was behind the timing of the allegations leveled by an ex-Treasurer employee.
Rauner: More attacks are on the way against Rauner. That includes TV ads that may hit him on GTCR’s interest and management of nursing homes as well as his wife’s work with abortion rights advocates.

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