SPRINGFIELD (Illinois News Network) — After Gov. Bruce Rauner narrowly defeated challenger Jeanne Ives in the primary for Illinois’ Republican candidate for governor, the question is now whether the first-term governor can persuade frustrated conservatives to vote for him this fall.
When the numbers were tallied, Rauner had bested the conservative suburban Chicago lawmaker. But Ives turned out to be something more than the fringe candidate Rauner portrayed her as early in the campaign. He won by 20,000 votes, according to unofficial election results.
Considering more than 330,000 Republicans voted for Ives, Rauner must now get them back on board in time for November’s general election if he has a chance against billionaire Democrat J.B. Pritzker.
Supporters at her post-election rally highlighted some of the challenges Rauner will face in bringing the party together.
State Rep. Allen Skillicorn said he wouldn’t support Rauner.
“Absolutely not,” he said. “His campaign was dishonest and dishonorable.”
Rauner ran TV and digital ads before the primary that claimed Ives was powerful Democrat House Speaker Michael Madigan’s favorite Republican. Media outlets and other Republicans said the claim wasn’t true.
Alexander Rodriguez of Joliet says he’ll pull the lever for Rauner this November but won’t be happy about it.
“I will not fundraise. I will not donate. I won’t have a yard sign in my house,” he said. “He’s going to be on his own.”
State Rep. Peter Breen (R-Lombard) was more pragmatic about Rauner.
“Gov. Rauner stated in the media that he’s heard the message, and I believe he has,” Breen said. “Gov. Rauner is our party’s nominee, and I support him 100 percent.”
Breen was one of Rauner’s most vocal opponents, taking him to task for his flip-flop on a bill that put more public dollars toward abortions.
Wearing an anti-Rauner shirt, Susie Ejzak from Palatine said there’s no chance Rauner will get her support.
“Absolutely not,” she said . “He’s a Democrat and I haven’t voted for a Democrat since 1976.”
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