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updated: 4/24/2014 5:03 PM

Rauner skips GOP event over pastor's comments

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Associated Press

MOLINE, Ill. -- GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner isn't attending a Republican dinner in Moline because he says he disagrees with past statements from a pastor asked to speak at the event.

The (Moline) Dispatch reports Rauner was to attend Thursday's Rock Island County Republican Party Lincoln Day Dinner where the Rev. Donald Johnson of Rock Island's Destiny Baptist Church is speaking.

Rauner told The Associated Press Thursday he "strongly strongly" disagrees with Johnson's comments. He wouldn't elaborate.

The Dispatch reports Johnson's books accuse President Barack Obama of "anti-Biblical" actions and that he "homosexualized the military."

Johnson was taken off the program then added back.

He declined to comment to the newspaper. Calls to his church went unanswered.

County GOP chairman Bill Bloom says Johnson's social conservative message made Rauner's campaign "nervous."

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