Wealthy Rauner takes aim at Quinn after primary win
This man is so rich, he not onlyhas money to burn, he has money to buy fire departments.
Opponents have called him a “bazillionaire’’ although he says he is not even a billionaire.
But he has some cash.
Bruce Rauner spent a reported $6 million of his own dough on the campaign that wrapped up Tuesday night and that was only a primary. But he needed every penny in what turned out to be a close race.
Even before he dispatched Bill Brady, Kirk Dillard and Dan Rutherford in the Republican Primary, the Winnetka venture capitalist took aim at seated governor Pat Quinn – his November opponent.
“We’re going to sweep Pat Quinn into the dustbin of history,” Rauner told a crowd estimated of 500 at the Lexington House in Hickory Hills on Monday night during his final rally before the election.
His speech was less than five minutes but it was full of Quinn bashing without a syllable directed to his primary foes. It was almost as if they didn’t exist. But Dillard made Rauner sweat a little Tuesday night after watching a double-digit percentage lead shrink to two percent at about 9:30 p.m.
During that time, Quinn was already running television commercials bashing Rauner so the mud started slinging at Rauner’s face before he could wipe the sweat off his brow.
But the man who wants to make big noise from Winnetka claimed victory an hour later as he had the unofficial two- percent lead with 97 percent of the precincts reporting.
It was closer win than expected. Dillard received crossover votes – Democrats voting on the Republican ballot -- in Democratic-heavy Chicago.
“There are some thoughtful Democrats out there,” Dillard told reporters at what he was hoping would be a victory party while he was inching closer to Rauner. “I welcome them.’’
But the night ultimately belonged to Rauner, who is vowing that he will be the next governor.
Republican Governors Association Chairman Chris Christie threw his weight and Hosannas Rauner’s way late Tuesday night in a statement.
“It’s time to leave behind the days of high unemployment and job losses, skyrocketing taxes, unaccountable spending and failing schools that have blighted the last five years in Illinois under Pat Quinn,” Christie wrote. “Illinois is ready for a real leader: someone who can’t be bought or intimidated. Illinois is ready for a governor who is willing to solve the toughest of problems, not avoid them; for a governor who works to foster economic growth, not stifle it; for a governor who can balance a budget without saddling the taxpayers time and time again; for a governor who refuses to endure the persistent failure of government that has racked Illinois for years.”
Rauner took to the stage Monday night in Hickory Hills with the Rolling Stones’ “Start Me Up” blaring on the PA system and well-dressed adults acting like kids at a rock concert yelling “Bruce! Bruce! Bruce!”
“This is our year,” Rauner said. “This is our election. We’re going to sweep Pat Quinn into the dustbin of Illinois history. We’re going to turn our state around just like Indiana did and Wisconsin is being turned around and Michigan is being turned around. We are going to shake up Springfield and transform our state.’’
He was just getting warmed up.
“Pat Quinn is the worst governor in America,” Rauner said. “He has buried the people of Illinois. He is driving up our taxes. He is driving our employers out of the state. He’s driving our unemployment through the roof. He had defunded our schools.
“He is a failure. We are going to get him gone.’’
After the Quinn-essential bashing of the governor, Rauner got around to what he wants to accomplish if he gets the votes in November.
“We want to go to work for you,’’ Rauner said. “We want to do four things. No. 1, we want more jobs and a pro-business economy, No. 2, lower taxes and spending in Springfield, No. 3 great education and No. 4, term limits – eight years and out.’’
Not everyone was a Rauner fan that night.
Near the entrance of the Lexington House stood a handful of protesters who loudly booed any car that drove into the lot.
They had signs the said “Billionaire Bruce: I iz buying your state,” “Union yes, Rauner No’’ and “Rauner is a downer.’’
On the other side of the driveway, a guy wearing a period costume holding up a sign that said .01%ers for RAUNER! cheered as loud as he could as cars came while police kept an amused eye on the proceedings from a distance.
Quinn had an easier time with his opponent in the primary, beating Tio Hardiman by gobbling up 72 percent of the vote according to returns counted late Tuesday night.