Rauner 'surprised' by Sen. Matt Murphy resignation
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner said he was surprised by reports that Republican state Sen. Matt Murphy of Palatine, a top Rauner ally, is resigning from the legislature.
Rauner said he hasn't talked to Murphy, who is known as one of his party's leading voice in Springfield on budget matters.
Murphy has not commented publicly. Top Republican sources said Murphy could announce his resignation as early as today.
Murphy's departure will take a big voice out of the outnumbered Republican ranks in the legislature as the party tries to win more seats back in November.
"I was surprised by it, disappointed. I think he's been a great legislator," Rauner said Friday as he opened the Illinois State Fair in Springfield.
Murphy would not have been up for election Nov. 8, and an early exit comes at a time when state lawmakers and Rauner just finished a historic budget war and could start another one days after the election.
Sources said Murphy is set to take a job with a public affairs firm.
He'll join a bipartisan rush of lawmakers, many from the suburbs, who have left Springfield this year or have declined to run for re-election.
Last month, state Rep. Ron Sandack, a Downers Grove Republican, resigned suddenly citing "cyber security issues."
Former Republican state Sen. Dan Duffy of Lake Barrington left earlier this year for a new job, as did Democratic state Sen. Dan Kotowski of Park Ridge, who often sparred with Murphy on the Senate floor.
This spring, Democratic state Rep. Jack Franks of Marengo bowed out of his re-election campaign to seek a McHenry County post.
Democratic state Sen. Mike Noland of Elgin ran for Congress and lost in the primary, sacrificing his Senate seat in the process. Republican state Reps. Ed Sullivan of Mundelein and Mike Tryon of Crystal Lake aren't running for re-election.
Murphy has represented a Northwest suburban district in the Illinois Senate since 2007 and ran in the 2010 primary for lieutenant governor. He is known for harsh rebukes of Democrats in budget debates on the Senate floor but served his whole legislative career in the Senate minority, often facing a veto-proof majority on the other side of the aisle.