Bruce Rauner makes re-election bid official with video
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has made official what's already widely known: He's seeking re-election for a second term.
The wealthy Republican businessman turned politician has already put $50 million of his own money into his campaign fund and has traveled at the campaign's expense. He released a video Monday in which he's seen riding a motorcycle around the state and he says he's won some and lost some, but he chooses "to fight" instead of throwing in the towel.
The first-term governor is considered among the most vulnerable incumbents nationwide. He's clashed with majority Democrats since he took office, including an unprecedented yearslong budget impasse that recently ended.
In his own party, Rauner infuriated conservatives by signing a bill last month expanding abortion coverage for women on Medicaid. That raised the likelihood of a primary challenge next March and led former ally John Tillman, head of the conservative Illinois Policy Institute, to dub the governor "Benedict Rauner."
Now, three-term state Rep. Jeanne Ives of Wheaton is exploring a run for governor, and other names have been mentioned, including state Rep. Peter Breen of Lombard, the recently elected House floor leader who filed a bill called "No Taxpayer Funding Abortion." Joe Walsh, a radio show host and former U.S. congressman from McHenry, is considering a run as an independent, according to NBC 5.
The Democratic race has attracted a number of candidates, including state Sen. Daniel Biss of Evanston, Madison County superintendent Bob Daiber of Marine, Chicago activist Tio Hardiman, Kenilworth businessman Chris Kennedy, Vernon Hills business owner Alexander Paterakis and Chicago businessman J.B. Pritzker.
Rauner, in his video, reiterates campaign promises from his first run, including term limits.
At least one of Rauner's Democratic challengers scoffed at Rauner's motorcycle message, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. "Bruce Rauner's motorcycle must have taken a wrong turn if it took him three years to 'choose' to fight for this state," Pritzker's campaign manager, Anne Caprara, said in a statement. "It's time for Rauner to go, and at least we know he already has his transportation."
The gubernatorial race could be the most expensive nationwide.