Illinois conservatives, take a good hard look in the mirror. Former Rauner supporter, Rep. Jeanne Ives lost the Republican primary to incumbent Governor Bruce Rauner on March 20th.
No, it doesn’t matter that Ives almost beat Rauner? No.
Get it through your heads: Almost winning is losing.
This baggage made it impossible for Ives to beat Rauner
Face it: Ives wasn’t perfect. She was a former Rauner supporter and was forced to apologize for supporting him.
She didn’t launch her campaign against Rauner until December. She could have led the opposition to anti-life legislation and pro-illegal immigrant legislation BEFORE it passed by the Illinois General Assembly and BEFORE Rauner signed them into law. Ives did nothing. She isn’t the only one. Most conservative or Republican members of the General Assembly did nothing and conservative voters didn’t know this fatal legislation was even pending.
Ives’ campaign team was littered with Rauner hacks, hangers-on, and sellouts who traded conservative principle for access to Rauner’s bulging wallet. Rauner hatchetman, Dan Proft was Ives’ top advisor and has admitted responsibility for the disastrous TV spot that ultimately sunk Ives’ campaign and prevented her from getting a majority vote in the primary. Was that Proft’s plan?
Ives’ campaign spokeswoman, Kathleen Murphy, is with the Illinois Opportunity Project, a surrogate Rauner group that paid off a liberal Democrat with a $1 million donation. They can’t take back the harm they’ve done for pay.
This political baggage and some God awful campaign strategy from Dan Proft made it impossible for Ives to win.
However, there is another.
Rauner and Proft tried to destroy Sen. Sam McCann but botched it
Sen. Sam McCann is a veteran pro-life conservative Republican state senator from Plainview who was viciously attacked by Bruce Rauner and his surrogate, Dan Proft and he could be the next best hope for conservatives in Illinois. In late 2015, McCann disagreed with Rauner on a union arbitration bill (McCann’s district includes large number of state workers) and Rauner decided to make an example of him. He threatened McCann even though his vote was inconsequential – the Democrats would have been able to pass the bill anyway.
Proft, who represents pro-abortion candidates for pay but claims to be pro-life, was handed millions of dollars to, not just attack McCann, but destroy him. Rauner funneled $3.2 million in “I’ll teach you a lesson” money to Dan Proft’s Liberty Principles PAC to destroy McCann in the GOP primary after he cast an incidental pro-labor vote in his union heavy downstate district. Rauner’s message: Obey me or else!
In a textbook example of political malpractice, Proft’s unending flood of negative ads against the state senator backfired in the 50th district and McCann won re-election handily. McCann spent a measly $689,000, leaving Rauner aides tried to explain the embarrassing defeat: “He [McCann] was a god in that district.”
How did Proft bungle $3.2 million so badly? Observers say Rauner/Proft underestimated McCann’s good guy “cred” in his district. McCann also received the endorsement of pro-life groups statewide (excluding pro-Rauner Family PAC, run by Paul Caprio).
In his 2016 proxy war with House Speaker Michael Madigan, Rauner and friends spent upwards of $9 million on three legislative races and lost them all. Talk about losers.
McCann could spell Rauner’s doom
When the Sangamon County GOP announced it would not support McCann for re-election last year, McCann made a decision: He would not run and allow himself to be attacked by Rauner’s thugs once again. What would be McCann’s next move? Would McCann run as an independent candidate for Governor and thwart Rauner’s re-election or would he run as an independent for Illinois State Senate and thwart Rauner and the Sangamon County GOP?
McCann’s independent candidacy in the general election could seal Rauner’s political fate. In 2014, after spending $26 million of his own fortune, Rauner beat incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn 50.3% to 46.4%. A close vote – even for a wealthy newcomer. With few to no accomplishments in his first term, the vote will be even closer this time.
In 2018, Rauner needs every last vote he can get. To win the primary, he spent millions attacking Ives. (A last-minute pro-Ives spot paid for by the Democrat Governors Association wasn’t enough to help Ives overcome Rauner’s attack).
But a McCann candidacy? That would ensure Rauner’s defeat.