State Sen. Sam McCann, a pro-life, pro-Trump Conservative Party candidate for governor, was joined by his running mate, Aaron Merreighn of Riverton, on Monday as they filed more than 65,000 signatures to get on the Nov. 6 ballot. McCann’s candidacy represents a serious challenge from the right to unpopular incumbent Republican Governor Bruce Rauner.

“This is about a calling,” McCann told reporters at the State Board of Elections after the petitions were filed. “This is about doing what’s right. It’s about restoring people’s faith in our state and in our nation … that we can have servant-driven leadership and not politicians who serve themselves.”

McCann said he believes the petitions will withstand an expected legal challenge. Only 25,000 valid signatures are required to sustain an objection.

McCann was elected to the Senate as a Republican, but described that party as being in “disarray.” He said GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner, who is seeking re-election, claimed in the 2014 race that he would have no social agenda, but with the passage of a tax increase and legislation allowing taxpayer funding of elective abortions, he said, “the only thing he’s done is institute a social agenda.”

“Bruce Rauner has been the best Democratic governor that the state has ever had if you’re a progressive Chicago Democrat,” McCann said.

History lesson: 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 in 2016.

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. 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.

McCann could spell Rauner’s doom

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 Rep. Jeanne Ives. Rauner won the Republican primary but not by much – conservative voters were disgusted by his attacks on President Trump and two radical left bills he signed: taxpayer-funded abortion and sanctuary state legislation.

McCann is pro-life and voted against SB31, the pro-illegal immigration legislation Rauner signed last fall.

Rauner is already trailing Democrat JB Pritzker by 9 points in the latest poll. McCann’s pro-Trump Conservative Party candidacy is the latest blow to Rauner, who has been called the worst Republican Governor in America by the National Review.

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