Both Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn and his newly minted Republican challenger
Bruce Rauner are laying a "man of the people" groundwork in their run at the
governor's mansion in Illinois.
WORKING MAN'S FRIEND? Rauner wants to build Illinois' economy, not increase
"As long as I'm governor, I'm here to fight for the 99.99 percent," Quinn
said in his "salt of the earth" acceptance speech after easily winning the
Democratic primary. "Together, we will build and protect the middle class
and keep Illinois moving forward."
Rauner, a multimillionaire who squeaked out a victory against a public
employee union-backed opponent, sounded a similar everyman tone.
about the truck driver in Rockford looking for more work," Rauner
said. "This is about the factory worker in Decatur who lost his job ... this is
about the single mother in Pilsen, struggling to make ends meet who wants to
have a better life."
Rauner supporter and Palatine GOP precinct committeeman Kevin Cavanaugh said
voters are going to have a choice between two very different visions of
"(Rauner) is playing to what people want," Cavanaugh said.
"There's a want for tax rollbacks, there's a want for fiscal
Quinn's populism is what voters have come to expect from the two-term
Democrat: government action and government spending.
"I'm here to fight for working people who deserve a fair shake," Quinn told
his crowd of well-wishers, "And I'm here today to fight for an economy that
works for everyone, not just for the billionaires, but for everybody."
YOU KNOW ME:
Quinn is relying on the same populist message he used four
Quinn's primary victory speech echoed his gubernatorial address to lawmakers
from last month. He once again called for a $10-an-hour minimum wage.
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But the battle for the governor's mansion is going to be as much
a proxy war over the role of public sector unions as it is about
fight for who is the real man of the people.
Rauner made no secret of his desire to unseat the "government union
bosses" during his run through the primary.
Those union bosses, including American Federation of State, County
and Municipal Employees, Service Employees International Union and
Illinois' teachers unions, have donated millions of dollars to Quinn
over the years.
Andrew Matthews, a Illinois State University political science
professor and local education union president, said there's no doubt
the proxy fight over labor will add millions of dollars to what is
already expected to be an expensive November election.
"I don't know what our union will end up doing. I don't know where AFSCME is going to end up. I don't know where SEIU (will end up),"
Matthews said. "This is a Pat Quinn versus Bruce Rauner race. (But)
certainly organized labor is going to have a voice in that race. We have a voice
in every race."
Ron Gidwitz, a former GOP candidate for governor and Rauner
financier, said he expects labor unions from outside the state to
open the flood gates, and pour millions of dollars into Illinois.
"They're pretty determined that we'll have a tough race in the
fall," Gidwitz added. "We'll see what happens."
article courtesy of
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