Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford said Monday a decision on whether to run for the 2014 Republican nomination for governor is more a matter of when than if.
Speaking to reporters after appearing at the City Club of Chicago, the first-term treasurer said no formal campaign announcement would be made until late spring or early summer.
Rutherford also said he thought it would be inappropriate to announce a statewide candidacy before municipal and township elections on April 9.
“We don’t need to have official candidates out there before then,” he said.
Asked if he was still deciding whether to run, Rutherford responded, “It’s more a matter of when’s the right time to do it.”
Rutherford has not been secretive about his interest in running for the GOP governor nomination, which is already shaping up to be a potentially crowded field.
State Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington, who lost to Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn in 2010, wants another try. So does state Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale, who narrowly lost the last GOP nomination to Brady.
In addition, wealthy Chicago businessman Bruce Rauner has launched a 60-day listening tour as part of an exploratory look at the GOP nomination. U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock of Peoria also is considering a bid.
In speaking to the City Club, Rutherford said he was a proven vote getter among the potential GOP field. “I’m the only Republican right now looking to run for governor that has actually won a statewide race,” he said.
Rutherford, of Chenoa in central Illinois, also said he believed Illinois voters — including Republicans — want someone to fix the state’s financial problems, including its towering unfunded public pension liability, rather than engage in infighting over social issues.
“I think Illinois is ready for someone to look them in the eye, talk the talk who’s walked the walk, tell them the truth, be believable, understand that there’s a lot of things we’re not going to agree on — and keep it to the finances,” he said. “Don’t let abortion or gay rights or guns define a good person from a bad person.”
Rutherford also criticized Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan’s piecemeal approach to coming up with a pension reform solution. Instead, Rutherford said, a comprehensive plan should be agreed upon after everything has been put on the table, including a higher retirement age, adjusting cost of living increases and means testing for retirees’ health care.