CHRONICLE: Primary challenger Ives keeps the heat on Rauner

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Narrowly losing in a bruising primary to Governor Bruce Rauner has not deterred Republican State Representative Jeanne Ives from continuing to criticize the governor and keep the spotlight on his failures.

Ives said a new report on Illinois’ finances indicates how, “Illinois elected officials are burying their heads in the sand and ignoring the consequences of decades of mismanagement.”

Rauner instigated a more than two-year impasse during which he pushed the state to the brink, holding the budget hostage in order to pass non-budgetary reforms, none of which were successful.

In July 2017, a bipartisan group of legislators overrode Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto of the budget compromise, pointing to the toll the crisis took on the state’s finances, social services providers, and educational institutions.

The deficit grew to $15 billion in unpaid bills, from $5 billion when Rauner took office.

After the primary, Ives has refused to endorse the governor in his campaign against Democratic nominee J.B. Pritzker. “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 is 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.”

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