Gov candidate Dillard’s last hurrah and last Hail Mary, calling Bruce Rauner, “The King of Pay to Play.”

Kirk Dillard: Bruce Rauner is an ultimate insider and literally the [biggest] King of Pay to Play politics that I have ever seen in Illinois.  He is the worst kind of insider. He is...


Kirk Dillard—Governor in Training for three decades

Kirk Dillard has seen himself as Governor in Training for the last three decades. First, in the 80s, as Governor Big Jim Thompson’s legislative director. Then, in the early 90s, as Governor Jim Edgar’s Chief of Staff.  And for the last two decades as the Senator from DuPage County, making deals and courting the media as a “Non-scary, social conservative and moderate, pragmatic, deal-making, suburban economic conservative,” waiting in the wings for the opportunity to run the State.

Senator Dillard thinks he was robbed by Senator Bill Brady in 2010, when Dillard came up short 193 votes in his attempt to get the Republican nomination for Governor, and then Brady blew the general election to Quinn.

Rauner—comes out of nowhere to block Dillard's Gubernatorial manifest destiny 

Then, in his last hurrah, this year’s run for the Roses, Dillard was blocked by Winnetka mega-millionaire, venture capitalist, Bruce Rauner. Rauner not only has a net worth of $700 million, large chunks of which he used to get known fast, but Rauner also has the support and friendship of a bunch of rich guys, some of whom in the past had financed Dillard.

Dillard was now blocked from getting their bucks to finance his run. And what is worse for Dillard, Rauner is the first rich guy in Illinois who seems to know how to play the game of politics. As Rauner himself brags, he is a salesman—and what is politics-- if not charming and selling the voters on your ideas and likeability.

Teachers' unions—Dillard’s temporary savior

With access to his money folks blocked, Dillard had to suck it up, cast a bad pension vote against state employee pension reform and grovel to the teachers’ unions (1) for their financial support to finance his Hail Mary and (2) for their endorsement and efforts to round up Democrats to vote for Dillard in the Republican Gov Primary.

Dillard had to rely on the public sector unions (1) to paint Rauner, in their independent expenditure TV ads, as a killer of old people, because Rauner’s company had invested in nursing homes where some old people may have received inadequate care and died and (2) to paint Rauner, in in their independent expenditure TV ads, as someone who bribed Stu Levine to help Rauner get state pension business.

Dillard’s Hail Mary—arguing Rauner is “King of Pay to Play.

Last week, after the Institute of Politics/NBC/Harris School sponsored debate at the University of Chicago (Logan center), Dillard, in a short, post-game presser, hit his stride in a three minute tirade, characterizing Bruce Rauner as the “Ultimate insider and the King of Pay to Play.

Kirk Dillard: Bruce Rauner is an ultimate insider and literally the [biggest] King of Pay to Play politics that I have ever seen in Illinois.  He is the worst kind of insider. He is the one that has done the buying of Stuart Levine for a million dollars. Read the Philadelphia Inquirer, he said he gave $300,000 to Ed Rendell, the Democrat Governor of  Pennsylvania- while Rendell was serving on the Democratic National Committee- to "buy influence," (that's Rauner's word, not mine), according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, and then he clouts his kid...

Dillard's assertion about Rauner  may or may not have been truthful or accurate--  I guess we will let the voters decide.

Dillard takes a page from the Obama playbook

Remember that Obama, the ultimate Chicago politics practitioner, more likely than not won the U. S. Senate seat in 2004 by having his operatives, behind the scenes, (1) work to unleash a lot of mud from a sealed, domestic dispute,  protective order that tubed front runner Blair Hull in the Democratic Primary and then (2) facilitate, along with the Chicago Tribune and WLS,  the unsealing of child custody records that led to the withdrawal of Republican Jack Ryan in the general election.

Dillard’s spunk   

So you have to admire Dillard’s spunk, which has long been absent during his passionless 2014 campaign, as he played a little Chicago politics-- not unlike his friend and once upon a time fellow state senator, Barack Obama. Indeed, Republican Dillard cut an ad for Obama in the 2008 Iowa Democratic Presidential Primary—which helped Obama sell himself as a bi-partisan guy who transcended politics.

The teachers’ unions pull the plug on Kirk Dillard

But, it appears that Dillard’s spunk is running out as the public sector unions, Dillard’s strange bedfellow, are now pulling the plug on the TV ads that Dillard needs to win. The unions have decided that the ads just aren’t moving Dillard’s numbers enough to win, so their effort to keep Rauner from getting the Republican Party Gov nomination will ultimately fail.

The unions had hoped that Dillard, who they perceived as a weaker candidate than Rauner in Novermber against the union’s real favorite, Pat Quinn, could be carried by them over the finish line in the March 18 Republican Gov Primary. Illinois Democrats are often not only able to pick their voters-- but they often can pick their opponents, too.. You have to admire that handiwork. .

Dillard’s last Hail Mary on Chicago Tonight  

So they unions will now pull their TV ads and conserve their money to back their real favorite—Five year Democrat Governor Pat Quinn, in the November general election. With less than a week left until the Primary election and at least 10 to 15 points behind Rauner, what does the about to be penniless Kirk Dillard campaign do? Throw another Hail Mary at tonight’s WTTW debate?  He may as well. It’s the Chicago way—on Chicago Tonight.


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  • Nobody is going to watch WTTW during another pledge month.

    You gave an honest assessment of the kind of support Dillard would have needed, and in that the deceptive teachers' union ads were pulled as ineffective, apparently the union isn't driving its members to the polls with hand cards saying to avoid all instincts and ask for a Republican ballot, and then vote for Dillard.

    However, compared to Quinn, Dillard may actually be the preferred candidate, as Quinn at least went through the motions of pushing pension reform.

    Finally, I said elsewhere that while I'm not in a position to say if Rauner is an insider, at least he doesn't need to shake down donors to fund his retirement, as Blago attempted to do, and I am sure plenty of Illinois politicians have successfully done. And for those who have defied retirement, like Burke and Madigan, still have their own financial conflicts of interest.

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