I did something yesterday I had not done since 1994: I pulled a Republican ballot. It felt alien. There were other years I flirted with pulling the GOP ballot, but then I always go back to pulling the blue one.
I think I got a look from the woman behind the desk like: “Really?” Or maybe that was just how I was feeling when I announced. But I took the ballot and voted for Bruce Rauner. One great thing about pulling that ballot is it took all of 37 seconds to complete. There were maybe two judicial candidates for whom I had opportunity to vote. There were very few GOP races that needed my attention in suburban Cook County.
After all the votes were tallied, Bruce Rauner won the Republican primary election. The question is now: Can he win the general?
And of course the answer is yes: Rauner can win the general. He certainly has the money– especially this week and through the end of the month when all the other GOP candidates would not have had any money for the general election, Rauner will be able to pivot and start defining Pat Quinn and attacking his record. Money is one thing that will help Rauner. But will it also be his undoing?
I can’t see myself contributing to Bruce Rauner. Why should I? How is a $500.00 or $1,000.00 donation going to help a guy who will put in $20 million of his own money in. And if I feel that way as someone who voted for him– how is he going to identify with people of our state? He can talk all he wants about his $13.00 watch, but the fact is he has a net worth of roughly $500 million. So if he earns 5% on that money this year, that means he can buy this election and still be worth over $500 million at the end of the year. Scary thought.
The other side of the coin is his money provides a counterweight to the money Mike Madigan controls as the Illinois Democratic party chair and labor union money provided to Madigan and the Democratic party. So I will be interested to see what Rauner does in the next couple weeks. Bruce Rauner wins if the election comes down to fiscal issues and if Rauner is able to stick to his script (as he did in the primary). As it turns out, Pat Quinn is running on a “jobs” platform. Another four letter word Pat Quinn should have used is DEBT as our state is in plenty of red ink. I get the platform of raising the minium wage and argument Quinn intends on making, but considering the state’s fiscal situation, Pat Quinn is not in any position to telling businesses how to spend money.
Last night’s close result doesn’t mean Rauner will lose in November. Many of those votes for Dillard should vote for Rauner. But the GOP must get out the vote better than it did in the primary (a dismal 15% turnout in suburban Cook County). Rauner MUST win *democrats* like me. People who are socially liberal and moderate, but decide to vote with their pocketbook in this election. And he’ll have to give us more than “Let’s shake up Springfield!” He’s going to have to tell us how– other than term limits– he intends on shaking it up.
And he’ll have to defeat a ground game that Democrats have in this state that Bruce, because he’s a political neophyte, doesn’t have.
Primary night was an interesting night. As will be the next seven and a half months.