Although Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) was all but knighted as the Republican heir apparent in the governor’s race, she failed in her bid to topple incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner – but only by 3 percentage points.
Rauner held on to his party’s vote of confidence (if by the slimmest of margins) to remain on the ballot come November, despite a tough year that saw the state Senate override his veto of a 32 percent income tax hike. Rauner brought some of the disfavor on himself by authorizing bills paying for the elective abortions for public-sector employees and preventing state police from enforcing federal immigration law.
Representing the 42nd District since 2013, Ives mounted a challenge that was more than a warning shot across the bow for Rauner, who was vilified in a piece published in the National Review last year. That report characterized him as a candidate who was done and more or less crowned Ives as his ballot replacement.
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner
Nine GOP lawmakers, including Rep. Tom Morrison (R-Palatine), broke party ranks and sided with Ives against Rauner. The other backers included Reps. Peter Breen (R-Lombard), Margo McDermed (R-Mokena), Allen Skillicorn (R-East Dundee), John Cabello (R-Machesney Park), Barb Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) and David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills), according to a list on her website. Sens. Tim Bivins (R-Dixon) and Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon) also threw their support behind her.
Ives courted controversy earlier this year, however, with a campaign ad her own party described as “racist and homophobic,” according to a report on The Daily Herald’s website.
In the ad, a number of surrogates costumed to represent different laws thank Rauner for favoring legislation benefiting illegal immigrants, allowing state-funded abortions, permitting transgender people to choose their restroom and other measures the governor backed against the majority of his own party. At one point, the ad bears the caption “Benedict Rauner.”
As The Washington Post reported, “political establishments in both parties face restive grass-roots activists who are demanding more fealty to orthodoxy, from abortion to immigration.”
Although he narrowly won his party’s nomination, Rauner’s coattails were long enough to help fellow outsider Erika Harold win the GOP’s primary race for state attorney general. A Fox News article stated Rauner endorsed her for the office and donated funds to her campaign, helping direct party support her way.
Harold will face Democrat Kwame Raoul on the ballot in November. Harold was Miss America and after her term she went on to earn a Harvard law degree (funded with pageant money).
During her pageant days, Harold was a spokeswoman for anti-bullying efforts. As a candidate for attorney general, she pledges on her website to oppose the Democratic Party machine, self-centered politicians and fiscal waste.