Schillerstrom not sure what his next move will be

After abandoning his bid for Illinois treasurer, former DuPage County Board Chairman Bob Schillerstrom this week said to “never say never” about him running for office again.

But he plans to support other candidates in 2014, starting with House Republican Leader Tom Cross' bid for Illinois treasurer.

Schillerstrom got out of the gates fast for his own exploration of the office, touting the backing of former U.S. Speaker Dennis Hastert, among others. He said he saw an opening for a win.

“I didn't see Tom getting in the race,” Schillerstrom said. “I didn't think anyone did, to be frank.”

There's still a GOP primary race, though, as DuPage County Auditor Bob Grogan's campaign for state treasurer continues. Chicago Republican Michael Scott Carter also plans to be a candidate.

“A primary is a luxury that I don't necessarily think we can afford at this time,” Schillerstrom said of Republicans' attempts to buck Democrats' control of Illinois.

“By fighting against ourselves, we're giving a leg up to the Democrats,” he said.

Big names mean big money?

Much has been made of businessman Rod Gidwitz backing Republican Bruce Rauner of Chicago for governor despite his past support of state Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale. Campaign cash from the business community could elude Dillard as a result.

But will Dillard's addition of former Gov. Jim Thompson to his endorsement list with former Gov. Jim Edgar help in the money column?

Dillard campaign manager Glenn Hodas says maybe, but that won't be their main role.

“We expect to be outspent,” Hodas said.

When an endorsement letter from Thompson and Edgar went out to local party leaders, Hodas said, the mission was to woo support of the party infrastructure, a fight not fought with pricey TV ads.

As of the end of June, Dillard trailed Rauner and Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford in the GOP fundraising race for governor but had more cash in the bank than state Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington.

Candidates next report fundraising totals Oct. 15.

In the meantime ...

Dillard reported collecting $170,300 Monday and Tuesday, including donations of $52,600 from the International Union of Operating Engineers, Chicago Laborers Joint-Management political action committee and the Illinois Lunch Pail Republicans.

Further meetings derailed?

State Rep. Mike Tryon, a Crystal Lake Republican, vented this week that it's been about two months since he asked for a meeting of the General Assembly's Mass Transit Committee to talk about the infamous hiring memo written by former Metra CEO Alex Clifford.

Clifford left Metra with a severance package of up to $718,000 after making allegations about improper hiring practices at the commuter rail agency, some tied to Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.

“It's becoming pretty clear to me that Speaker Madigan has no intention of providing a platform where the truth can be learned about the serious allegations made by former Metra CEO Alex Clifford,” said Tryon, the top Republican on the committee.

The former chairman of the panel, former state Rep. Deb Mell, left to replace her father as a Chicago alderman.

Thinking about it

Spotted: $5,500 in campaign contributions this month to Democrat Tim Elenz of Elgin, a businessman who lost to state Sen. Mike Noland in the 2012 primary election.

Elenz said some friends encouraging him to run for office decided to put up money to show they were serious. He said he's considering either running to be a local Democratic committeeman or for the Illinois House in a primary against state Rep. Fred Crespo of Hoffman Estates.

If Elenz chooses neither race, he'll use the money to back other candidates, he said.

“It's going to go to something good,” Elenz said. “It's not going to just be wasted.”

Crespo responds

Crespo said he's focusing on what happens when lawmakers return to Springfield for now.

“There's nothing I can do about that,” Crespo said. “I just have to continue to do what I usually do.”

Goncher looks at Hatcher seat

Republican Beth Goncher, of Aurora, who works for state Rep. Tim Schmitz of Batavia, has announced she'll run for the Illinois House seat being vacated by state Rep. Kay Hatcher of Yorkville.

The district includes southwestern Kane County and parts of northern Kendall County. Hatcher isn't running for re-election.

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