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2014 Illinois Governor’s Race

A few people have already thrown their hats in the ring for the 2014 Illinois governor’s race.

A pair of Republicans, Treasurer Dan Rutherford and wealthy venture capitalist Bruce Rauner, have already kicked off their gubernatorial campaigns.

As for the Democrats, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn will face a challenger in his own party: Bill Daley, President Barack Obama’s former Chief of Staff, says he’s also running for governor.

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Political Analyst Paul Lisnek joins WGN Morning News with latest on GOP governor’s debate

All four republican candidates for Illinois governor met Tuesday morning for forum in West suburban Naperville.

This was a more subdued event compared to the more contentious debate on Monday night before the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board.

The candidates touted their business positions and their business savvy.

It was 90 minutes of talking issues to a primarily manufacturing minded, pro-business crowd.

When questioned about raising the minimum wage businessman Bruce Rauner, who has wavered on the issue, called it a double-edged sword,  “Raising the national minimum wage up to Illinois’ level is one way to increase our competitiveness and I support that.  If we are going to talk about Illinois’ minimum wage itself, I oppose raising it if that’s all we do.”

“Nobody should be raising a family or living on a minimum wage and I think that President Obama and Governor Quinn, trying to elevate with the Democrat Governor’s Association, talk about the minimum wage is just a cover-up for the dismal economic conditions that Barack Obama and Pat Quinn have thrust on America and the people of Illinois,” said State Senator Kirk Dillard.

When it comes to solving the multi-billion dollar deficit facing the state, Treasurer Dan Rutherford went straight down the middle on the state income tax hike that is set to begin expiring in January of next year, “Revenue may need to be on the table, but I tell you as the governor I will not sign any, any revenue into law that is not a part of a comprehensive, verifiable, long-term solution to the finances of our state.

State Senator Bill Brady even ventured into a discussion about gun violence in Chicago, saying we have to demand that federal resources are used, “It’s a trifecta, federal resources into prosecuting, better penalties, and they go to federal prisons, not Illinois prisons.”

The candidates saved their attacks for governor Pat Quinn who says he wanted to delay his budget address until after the primary so that he can work on five year spending blueprint.

State Senator Bill Brady said, “No good reason, other than politics, to push it back.  We need to know what his plan is, so the legislature can start debating it.  There’s no reason to push this back.”

Tuesday’s debate was sponsored by the Illinois Manufactures Association and the Valley Industrial Association.

There are at least five more GOP debates before the March 18th primary.

Republican candidate for governor, Bruce Rauner, is no longer saying he would cut the minimum wage.

Last month, Rauner said he would lower the state minimum wage by a dollar, to make it equal to the federal rate of $7.25 an hour.

Rauner now says that was an over-simplification of a complex issue.

He says he meant that he supported raising the federal minimum wage and tying the Illinois rate to that.

Rauner’s three Republican challengers are all against raising the minimum wage.

None of them say it should be cut to the federal level.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and his new running mate talked to reporters today at a downtown press conference.  Quinn explained his surprise decision to tap the former Chicago schools CEO to be Lt. Governor.

“We have many talented people in the state of Illinois in the Democratic party,” the Governor said.  “And i spoke to many of them, along the way.  But I decided to pick Paul Vallas because I’ve known him a long time and he knows Illinois like the back of his hand.”

Vallas knows he’s stepping into a challenging situation.  Even if Quinn can fend off what’s expected to be a formidable challenge from Republicans – hoping to retake the governor’s mansion – Quinn and his Lt. Governor face huge fiscal challenges.

“We know we have a lot of work to do,” Quinn said.  “Paul’s a hard worker.  I don’t think anyone in the state can deny that.  And I work hard too.  And we’re going to work hard for common, everyday people.”

Vallas, who left Chicago to reform Philadelphia and New Orleans public school systems, says he’s ready for a new challenge.

“I’m a public servant,” Quinn’s new running mate explained.  “I tend to gravitate towards taking on big challenges.  And that’s something Pat has done his entire life.”

The pressing need for Pension Reform appears to be a major focus, a former City Budget Director, weighing in on Illinois’ greatest challenge.

“I’ve always said that there are 2 phases to pension reform.  the first phase is to address the issue longterm .. for future employees and those individuals who will be joining.      and the second phase is obviously much tougher challenge.  And that is to address exisiting retirees.”

Historically in Illinois, Lt. Governor’s don’t wield a lot of influence in office.  But all indications are Quinn will utilize Vallas’ considerable communication and organizational skills.

“I see Paul as a partner, a team mate.  Someone to work together with the rest of our team.  That’s what the people want.”

Paul Vallas wanted to run for governor himself in 2002 and again in 2005. Now he will run as the governor’s running mate.

Vallas has just released a statement saying he has been presented with an unexpected and extraordinary opportunity.

In a statement of his own, Governor Quinn says “I’ve known Paul for 30 years; he’s never been shy about fighting for education, reform and opportunities for working people.”

Vallas is the former Chicago Public Schools CEO, a very well-known name in political circles, and not just here in Chicago. He led the school systems in Philadelphia and New Orleans after leaving CPS, and has never really left the thoughts of political insiders here in Illinois.

Vallas fills the spot left by Sheila Simon, who plans to run for state comptroller.

Is there some disappointment in the African American community? Yes. City treasurer Stephanie Neely was a leading candidate and says she learned she was no longer in the running from reporters Friday.

“I was honored to be a part of this discussion.  If I’m not chosen, I’m okay with that too because I can serve as the city’s treasurer.  I’m going to be the best treasurer the city has ever had.  If it’s Paul Vallas or someone else I wish them the best of luck.  I’m going to support them, but you know, I’m happy where I am. I love my job,” Neely said.

State Senator Kwame Raoul, the governor’s pension reform point man, also considered a leading contender– also contends he’s happy where he is.

Less happy- the Chicago Teachers Union, familiar with Vallas from his time as schools boss in a statement saying:

“While he was CEO of the Chicago Public Schools, Vallas pioneered the corporate driven education model in our city. His policies continue to devastate our school system.”

Vallas says he’s honored to join forces with someone he calls the strongest reform governor in the country. However, there are some questions being raised about his eligibility to run here. The state constitution requires statewide candidates to be Illinois residents for three years prior to the election. That’s the part I’ve been talking to the governor’s office about. They call residency a non-issue.  They say the Vallas family has never truly left Illinois and expect to see him hitting the campaign trail with the governor middle of next week.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn on Friday announced his new running mate.

Paul Vallas will be on the Democrat ticket for lieutenant governor in the 2014 election.

Vallas, a former state gubernatorial candidate himself, is nationally known for his success in improving some of America`s most troubled schools, serving as superintendent of schools in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and New Orleans, and CEO of Chicago Public Schools for six years.

New numbers show just how much money the candidates for Illinois governor have been pulling in for their campaigns.

Republican candidate Bruce Rauner raised more than $1 million in large cash donations from July through September.

Rauner, an equity investor from Winnetka, already put $249,000 of his own money into his campaign. That narrowly missed the $250,000 self-funding limit.

Il. Governor Pat Quinn added nearly $750,000 to his campaign fund.

Two others in the GOP race for governor — state Treasurer Dan Rutherford of Chenoa and state Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington — took in $179,000 and $48,580 in large donations, respectively, records filed with the State Board of Elections showed.

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Bill Daley is dropping out of the race for Illinois governor.

Daley broke the news Monday night to the Chicago Tribune’s Rick Pearson.

Daley’s run lasted less than four months.

He spent that time raising campaign money and criticizing the job performance of Governor Quinn and lawmakers in Springfield.

Daley now says campaigning has been tough on him, and he’s decided that he doesn’t want to be governor anymore.

He says it’s not because of health reasons, a possible scandal, or even the fear of losing.

Daley still says Governor Quinn will lose the general election if he wins the democratic primary.

The only democrat challenging Quinn right now is former CeaseFire Executive Director, Tio Hardiman.

Republican candidate for Governor, State Senator Kirk Dillard, has chosen a downstate lawmaker as his running mate.

Dillard announced today that State Representative Jil Tracy of Quincy is his choice for Lt. Governor.

Tracy is an attorney who’s served in the Illinois House since 2006.

Before that, she headed up the West Central office of the Illinois Attorney General for seven years.

Republican Gubernatorial candidate, State Treasurer Dan Rutherford, has named attorney Steve Kim as his running mate.

Republicans Bill Brady and Bruce Rauner, and Democrats Bill Daley and Governor Pat Quinn, have not announced their choices yet.

The former director of the activist group CeaseFire announces his run for governor this weekend.

Tio Hardiman is joining the Democratic primary race, against Pat Quinn and Bill Daley.

Hardiman was fired by CeaseFire after his wife accused him of beating her.

She later dropped the charges.

Hardiman says, if he’s elected, he’ll turn some state prisons into rehab centers for non-violent offenders.

He says he’ll end political corruption, fix the pension funding crisis, and stop state harassment of legal gun owners.