Venture capitalist Bruce Rauner speaks to supporters during at the Illinois State Fair during the Republicans Day rally in August.. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)
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Bill Daley’s departure from the Democratic gubernatorial primary isn’t good news for Republicans.
The GOP that’s tried to wrest control of the governor’s mansion for the last 10 years continues to battle in a four-way race even as Gov. Pat Quinn has a clear path to the Democratic nomination in March.
For Republicans, that could mean that the one to emerge ends up weakened and financially strapped.
“As a general rule, divisive primaries hurt the party that has it,” says Don Rose, a longtime Chicago political consultant. “I think that’s just sort of an axiom but it does not necessarily mean it’s fatal. Most of these bruises and rivalries and so on will heal over the course of the campaign. I would say it’s more likely to hurt if there’s some bitterly ideological struggle where their constituencies absolutely detest the other guy.”
Daley held a formal news conference on Tuesday announcing that he was pulling out of the contest now that he’s faced with the enormity of the job.
Insiders were pointing to Daley’s departure as helping give a boost to Bruce Rauner, arguing the business community that backed Daley would turn to Rauner, a venture capitalist. But Rose said it’s too early to say.
“I don’t think things have taken enough shape to make such a statement,” Rose said.
On Tuesday, Rauner told the Sun-Times it didn’t matter if it was Quinn or Daley.
“It doesn’t matter who we run against, we’re going to win,” Rauner predicted.
State Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale) said he had no problem making a full-on commitment to the race.
“I understand the enormity of the job having been the chief of staff to a governor in a recession,” said Dillard. “I understand giving up five years of your life to turn this state around.”
Also running is state Treasurer Dan Rutherford as well as state Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) who announced on Tuesday he was tapping onetime Long Grove Mayor Maria Rodriguez to run as his lieutenant governor.