The lingering effects of the bruising Republican primary campaign in which Governor Bruce Rauner narrowly defeated primary opponent State Rep. Jeanne Ives are making waves in the election of the state’s new Republican Party Chair.
In a “proxy war” of Rauner vs. Ives, Rauner is backing current chairman Tim Schneider, while Ives is backing Lake County GOP chairman Mark Shaw. The contested race is just the latest sign of an ever-more fractured Republican party under Rauner’s leadership.
Most recently, Republican State Senator Sam McCann McCann, a frequent Rauner critic, announced he would challenge Rauner as a Conservative Party candidate. Post-primary, Ives refused to endorse the governor. .
“I’m a Republican. I’ll vote for him, but I will not endorse him,” she said. “I will not campaign for him. … Maybe if he takes out a million-dollar ad buy and admits he lied about me, maybe we’ll talk.”
Ives was referring to ads run by the Rauner campaign that have been found false and highly misleading by numerous media outlets. Republican state legislators had written to Rauner to ask him to stop the ads, which they said contained “shameful distortions and fabrications of Jeanne Ives’ record.”
“He can’t defend his own policies, so he’s using deep campaign coffers to flood airwaves and mailboxes with bogus attacks,” the letter read.
Republican legislators’ revolt against Rauner began last July, with legislators who up until that point had stayed loyal to the governor. A bipartisan group of lawmakers passed a state budget without the involvement of the governor after a more than two-year impasse.
Shortly after, Ives announced she would challenge Governor Bruce Rauner in the fight to win the Republican nomination for governor. Ives listed a litany of complaints against the Governor and said he has betrayed Republican principles and lied to the Illinoisans.
“Look, Governor Rauner’s the one who has created a civil war in the Republican Party, and not Jeanne Ives. So look, people were willing to go along with him, until he absolutely violated every principle that is core to the Republican Party.
“He’s done this to himself. He’s obviously maybe not interested in the job anymore. Quite frankly, he seems a little bit distant and disinterested. And him riding alone on a motorcycle in a campaign ad pretty much tells you that he is a loner.”