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Dillard questions mayor’s motive as Emanuel backs Quinn for governor

Mayor Rahm Emanuel (left) Gov. PQuinn. | Sun-Times files

Mayor Rahm Emanuel (left) and Gov. Pat Quinn. | Sun-Times files

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Updated: November 26, 2013 6:29AM

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is trying to help his friend Bruce Rauner win the crowded Republican primary for governor by endorsing incumbent Democrat Pat Quinn, Republican gubernatorial candidate Kirk Dillard charged Thursday.

Dillard offered that Machiavellian theory, one day after Emanuel endorsed Quinn for re-election, in spite of his rocky relationship with the governor and his close friendship with Rauner, the millionaire venture capitalist challenging Dillard for the GOP nomination.

“Rahm is very smart. He knows he helps Rauner in a Republican primary by strongly endorsing Quinn,” Dillard said Thursday.

As a loyal Democrat, Dillard said Emanuel is always going to pay lip service to the Democratic nominee.

But, he said, “I suspect he’s really rooting for Bruce Rauner. . . . Bruce Rauner is the man who made Rahm Emanuel rich right after he left the Clinton administration. Chicago Magazine just had a story with pictures of the two vacationing together. He’s a member of Rahm Emanuel’s inner circle. . . . That cozy relationship is problematic governmentally. It’s too close for comfort.”

Rauner spokesman Mike Schrimpf acknowledged that Rauner and Emanuel are friends, school reform allies and business associates and that their “families are on friendly terms.”

But he scoffed at Dillard’s claim that the mayor was embracing Quinn to help Rauner.

“Bruce is the most fiscally conservative Republican in the race. He’s a committed free-market Republican. It’s no surprise the Democratic mayor of Chicago, who is fiscally much more liberal, would back the Democrat in the race,” Schrimpf said.

It’s no surprise either that Dillard is lambasting Rauner every chance he gets for his relationship with Emanuel, Schrimpf said.

“Bruce is the only non-career politician in the race. He’s the only one who hasn’t voted with Democrats in Springfield for legislation that caused the pension crisis, raised taxes and fees and increased spending,” he said.

“All three candidates are trying to distract from the issues of the day and what’s going to fix Illinois.”

Emanuel and Quinn have had their differences over everything from casino gambling and CTA funding cuts to who will lead the stadium authority that oversees U.S. Cellular Field.

But that didn’t stop the mayor from telling the editorial board at Crain’s Chicago Business this week that he intends to support Quinn, not only in the Democratic primary, where the governor is running unopposed, but in the general election — even if Rauner emerges as the Republican nominee.

“Pat Quinn is going to be the [Democratic] nominee. I’ll support him,” Crain’s quoted the mayor as saying.

The mayor acknowledged that Rauner is “a friend.” But, he also maintained that the two men “vigorously disagree on policy” and the fundamental role of government.

“He thinks government is the problem,” Crain’s quoted the mayor as saying. “I wouldn’t be talking about [reforming] education and other things if I didn’t think government was the solution. While [Rauner] may be a friend, we disagree. I’m going to support Gov. Quinn for re-election.”


Twitter: @fspielman

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