A Curious Bystander

Megan Chrisler, Features Editor

Primaries happened within the last couple weeks to decide who will run against Gov. Pat Quinn this November. The winner, as predicted, was venture capitalist Bruce Rauner.

Unfortunately for Rauner, he seems a lot like Mitt Romney. He’s super rich, proven by the $6 million he spent out of his own pocket on his campaign—that’s the most out-of-pocket money spent on a governor’s race in state history. He got his money by doing exactly what Romney did; taking financially troubled companies and turning a profit, and Democrats are eager to jump on the greedy rich guy image. His anti-union stance has certainly not helped his reputation either, causing labor unions—usually strictly supportive of Democrats—to invest a lot of time and money in the GOP primary to make Rauner lose. On top of all this, Illinois hasn’t had a Republican governor since 1998.

But Quinn has problems of his own that make Rauner’s path a little easier. Quinn also has stirred up trouble with the labor unions with his pension law, which, among other things, increased retirement age. The only reason that unions side with Quinn is because he’s the lesser evil compared to Rauner, who said he would model his governorship after Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. The economy hasn’t gotten much better under Quinn’s leadership, with soaring amounts of debt and one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. The reason he’s governor in the first place is due to Chicago, where the four counties he won—there are 102 in all—are located.

To be fair, there is also credit to each name. Rauner seems to know how to handle money, which would be good for Illinois. He doesn’t have a public record, and he’s not too bad at this politician thing. Quinn, for his part, is resourceful when it comes to campaigning and also doesn’t have much of a shady past.

But there’s potential compromise if the state decides to go with Rauner on social issues. NPR’s Alan Greenblatt called Rauner’s views on gay marriage and abortion “moderate-to-liberal.” Indeed, he is pro-choice and stated that gay marriage should be up to the people, not state legislature (even after saying he would have vetoed the bill if he had been governor). His avoidance of these issues may be an attempt to please his Republican sponsors without promising anything. If so, he might just be the right fit, being good at finances and willing to break tradition.

Undoubtedly, more information about both candidates will appear in the forthcoming months. Keep up with the news, and be informed for Voting Day in November.