Citing name recognition and popularity, respondents to a Daily Herald survey of GOP delegates to the Republican National Convention overwhelmingly prefer state Treasurer Dan Rutherford to be the party's gubernatorial nominee in 2014.
The survey was sent to the state's 54 directly elected GOP delegates and 54 alternates, as well as the 12 delegates and 12 alternates elected at the state party's convention in June. A total of 51 delegates responded to this survey question, asking them to select from among five choices -- state Sen. Kirk Dillard, of Hinsdale; state Sen. Dan Duffy, of Lake Barrington; state Sen. Matt Murphy of Palatine; Rutherford; and Congressman Aaron Schock of Peoria. Respondents also were given the option to name someone else.
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Of the responses, Rutherford, of Chenoa, received 73.1 percent of votes. State Sen. Kirk Dillard, of Hinsdale, was a distant second, with 9.6 percent. Schock
received 5.8 percent of votes, Murphy 2 percent and Duffy no votes.
"Dan (Rutherford) is a proven fiscal conservative and a popular statewide officeholder who can win," delegate Jan Miller of Urbana said.
Delegate George Offord of Lockport cited Rutherford's "experience, knowledge and persistence to turn this state around."
Yet, others cited Dillard's ability to help attract an important swing vote in the suburbs.
"Sen. Dillard came extremely close to being our nominee and he is from DuPage and could get great numbers from the county to offset Cook County. The important part is for the party to rally behind a candidate so that resources won't be wasted in a primary and (can be) used to get real leadership back in the mansion," state Rep. Dennis Reboletti, a delegate from Elmhurst, said.
Rutherford, in addition to being treasurer, is also Mitt Romney's campaign chair for Illinois and a delegate. He did not fill out the survey.