Making case for challenging governor, Ives touts conservative values

Illinois Republican gubernatorial candidate and State Rep. Jeanne Ives won over some hearts Saturday during a brief appearance to drum up support for her primary campaign in Arlington Heights.

Ives spoke before a small crowd, including several veterans, at the Republicans of Wheeling Township headquarters.

State Rep. Tom Morrison, who represents the 54th District, introduced Ives, lauding her stance on core Republican values, which he said Gov. Bruce Rauner has failed to uphold.

"He took a very strong left-wing turn on a lot of social issues," said Morrison, adding Rauner hasn't been listening to members of his own party.

Morrison acknowledged there are some Republicans who are upset with Ives for taking a hard stand on some issues.

Ives, a West Point graduate with a degree in economics and a mother of five, criticized Rauner for signing what she calls the "sanctuary state" bill, the new school funding formula which many see as a bailout for Chicago Public Schools, subsidies for Exelon Corp., and a bill Sept. 28 that allows state health insurance and Medicaid funding for abortion.

Candidate Rauner supported increased coverage for abortions in 2014 but changed his mind in April, saying the state's focus should be the economy, making his latest move a surprise for conservatives.

"This is the agenda of an Ivy League professor and not a conservative reformer," said the Wheaton resident of her primary reason for challenging the first-term governor in March's Republican primary.

Ives comments echo criticism of Rauner in other suburban Republican strongholds. Other possible challengers to Rauner include state Rep. Peter Breen of Lombard and Joe Walsh, a radio show host and former congressman from McHenry.

In a video announcing his re-election bid, Rauner reiterated campaign promises from his first run, adding that despite some lost battles, he chooses "to fight" instead of throwing in the towel.

"Gov. Rauner is focused on fighting for Illinois' future and defeating Mike Madigan's machine so Illinois can have property tax relief and term limits, and we can roll back the Madigan income tax hike," Rauner spokesman Justin Giorgio said Saturday in response to Ives' comments.

A wealthy businessman turned politician, Rauner already has invested $50 million of his own money in the campaign, according to news reports.

Ives said while Rauner has the means to outspend her, she is convinced by her own polling data that voters are ready to oust him. He's alienated the party's base, she said, and "conservatives are being ridiculed in Springfield."

Ruth O'Connell, Wheeling Township Republican committeeman, said while the group won't announce its endorsements until January, she supports Ives completely.

"She's going to lead our Republican ticket," O'Connell said. "She understands what needs to be done."

  A small crowd gathered Saturday to listen to Illinois Republican gubernatorial candidate and state Rep. Jeanne Ives, who talked about conservative values during a brief appearance to drum up support for her primary campaign at the Republicans of Wheeling Township headquarters in Arlington Heights. Madhu Krishnamurthy/
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