Struggling Cook County GOP backs Rauner for governor
Winnetka, age 57. Private equity specialist. (Nancy Stone, Chicago Tribune / June 8, 2013)
But the impact of the county GOP backing, announced Saturday, is questionable. The group reported less than $8,500 in its campaign fund as of Oct. 1, and carried a $400 debt to Aaron Del Mar, the county’s GOP chairman.
Moreover, while Cook County traditionally represents about 21 percent of the Republican primary vote in Illinois, the party lacks any significant organization to be able to deliver ballots. Some Republicans indicated privately that among the group’s 50 ward and 30 suburban townships, local groups still could back their own preferred contenders.
It also has been more than 20 years since Republicans won a countywide office. The county party chairmanship suffered from its share of questionable activity in the mid-2000s under Gary Skoien, including his offer of a $10,000 bounty for tips leading to the conviction of then-Mayor Richard M. Daley even though the party coffers didn’t have that much money.
Rauner, who is making his first bid for public office, secured almost 63.4 percent of the weighted votes of committeemen, GOP officials said, with 60 percent the minimum needed to win endorsement.
Among Rauner’s three rivals for the nomination, state Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale got 10.2 percent, state Treasurer Dan Rutherford of Chenoa got almost 5 percent and state Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington, the 2010 GOP nominee, got 0 percent. The winner of the March 18 primary will face Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn in November 2014.
“We are grateful for their support and look forward to working with them to secure victory in March and then November,” Rauner campaign manage Chip Englander said in a statement.
Rauner is winding down a month-long, $1.5 million TV ad campaign, spending nearly as much as his opponents raised combined this year.
The organization did not make endorsements in contested races for U.S. Senate and state treasurer because none of the candidates could reach to 60 percent threshold.