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updated: 10/29/2017 8:00 PM

Ives: 'We expect to be on the ballot' against Rauner

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  • State Rep. Jeanne Ives is circulating petitions to challenge Gov. Bruce Rauner in the Republican primary.

      State Rep. Jeanne Ives is circulating petitions to challenge Gov. Bruce Rauner in the Republican primary.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer, 2016

 

State Rep. Jeanne Ives ticked off a long list of decisions by Gov. Bruce Rauner in explaining why she plans to challenge the incumbent in March's Republican primary.

The Wheaton resident criticized Rauner for signing what she calls the "sanctuary state" bill, the new6 school funding formula and subsidies for Exelon Corp. She also blasted the governor Sunday for signing a bill that would expand abortion coverage, calling it "a brand new entitlement program, when the state is bankrupt" and an indication that "he is off the rails."

"He has alienated base voters in our party by making decisions that are against our platform and make no sense when the state is completely broke," Ives said.

Ives announced this weekend that she is circulating petitions to challenge the governor in the March primary.

She said no one can officially declare they are running until they are on the ballot. However, she has selected Rich Morthland, a farmer, former state representative and community college professor from the Rock Island area, as her potential running mate.

"This is more than a trial balloon, by far," Ives said. "We're obviously at a little bit of a disadvantage because we are starting late, but we think this is a very achievable goal and we expect to be on the ballot and making a formal announcement when we do so."

She said her goal is to collect a minimum of 10,000 signatures; 5,000 signatures are required. She did not disclose her fundraising goal but said she has commitments of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Ives said she decided to run in response to a pattern of decisions made by the governor, who announced his re-election bid last week.

She denounced the governor for signing a bill that would call for electricity users to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in annual subsidies to Exelon Corp. She disagreed with Rauner for signing a new school funding formula that gives the Chicago Public School System more than $450 million above what it received in the previous year.

Ives also took Rauner to task for signing the Illinois Trust Act, which prohibits law enforcement officials from detaining someone based on immigration status.

Rauner's office was not available for comment.

Ives promised to take on the challenges facing the state with integrity and honesty.

"I have a record of fighting public corruption, which is an everyday event in the state of Illinois," she said.

Ives said she has been "hyper-policy focused" on such issues as controlling the state's debt and spending. Her bills, she said, have focused on protecting taxpayers.

Ives said she is particularly proud of a bill she sponsored but the House rejected that would have limited the ability of school districts to issue and refinance debt.

Regarding pensions, she said, "We need a full 401(k) for all state employees."

In addition to Ives, other names have been mentioned as possible challengers to Rauner including state Rep. Peter Breen of Lombard and Joe Walsh, a radio show host and former U.S. congressman from McHenry.

Ives said Chris Cleveland, the current Chicago GOP chairman, will serve as her campaign chairman.

A West Point graduate with a degree in economics and a mother of five, Ives won her third term in 2016. The former Wheaton City Council member ran on a campaign of reforming pensions to get the state's finances in order.

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