Rauner 1, unions 0
With 99% of the vote counted, Winnetkan Bruce Rauner has the IL Republican nomination for Governor tucked safely up his sleeve, along with his $18 watch and 700 million dollar net worth. Yes, it wasn’t the double digit lead over his closest competitor, Senator Dillard (the career pol lately aligned with and backed by the public sector unions to the tune of six million dollars) that many expected-- but it was a convincing win over the financial and political muscle of the teachers unions (IEA and IFT), state and local government employees union (AFSCME) and independent expenditure groups that were backed by labor and its supporters.
Dillard: the last Hail Mary has been thrown but was not completed.
The 40 to 37 % margin of victory (about 23 thousand votes out of almost 820,000 cast) means that Dillard can’t get an automatic recount—and indeed Dillard conceded late last night, so he can’t and won’t fight further. Although there is a “Unity lunch,” planned for today, Senator Dillard will likely want something for his support. He told this reporter a few days ago that Rauner would have to answer questions about pay to play and Stu Levine before he would climb aboard the Rauner victory train (Watch here at 10:22 to 11:05) .
However, a lot of the 303, 000 votes cast for Dillard are Democratic union member folks and they are not folks Dillard can deliver to Rauner-- so Kirk has to be careful not to overplay his hand, or he could find himself ignored during the next 8 months.
Senator Brady, no deals
Senator Brady’s (Bloomington) 15% was a poor third, and his third run for Governor was clearly not the charm and will be his last try for that office. Senator Brady, however, unlike his colleague Dillard, held his head high, kept to his consistent, conservative social and economic message, and cut no deals with unions or those “on the other philosophical/political," side.
Rutherford, a pathetic performance
State Treasurer Rutherford’s 8% was pathetic, as were his remarks yesterday about the lawsuit filed against him by a former employee of his office (and long time male friend), charging sexual harassment and improper pressure to perform political activities on state time. The Treasurer, in what appeared to be false bravado, promised he would ultimately be cleared of wrongdoing. He might be cleared, but as he made that promise, Treasurer and Gov candidate Rutherford appeared to be a dim shadow of his former self. For the last six weeks of the campaign, Rutherford seemed to be focusing on the upcoming defense of the federal civil lawsuit and perhaps a potential criminal investigation—much more than he was focused on the campaign. During the last few days, there were rumors that he would withdraw from the Gov race and try to throw his support to Senator Dillard. But, that rumor never materialized.