Conservative Party candidate for governor and current Republican Senator Sam McCann filed a lawsuit alleging that the Illinois Republican Party, the Illinois Senate Republican Caucus, and Senate Republican leader Bill Brady are restricting McCann’s access to resources he needs to do his job as a state senator, in retaliation for his Conservative candidacy.
McCann previously announced he would not be seeking re-election and has been a critic of Bruce Rauner’s leadership, opposing the Governor on numerous policy issues. Last month, he announced he would officially challenge Rauner as a Conservative Party candidate.
In response, Brady and Rauner mobilized and involuntarily expelled McCann from the party caucus, which he claims has cut him off from taxpayer-funded operational resources. The resources include communications staff, bill analysis, access to digital platforms, and help with writing, filing and running bills.
McCann is now suing, claiming these restrictions violate his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Springfield lawyer Bill Roberts, former legal counsel to Republican Governor Jim Edgar, said the move by Brady and Rauner reflects political “spite.”
McCann called himself the only candidate who will stand up to both Rauner and Democratic House Speaker Mike Madigan. McCann said, “Illinois deserves a clear choice in November. I am the only conservative in the race, and the only candidate who has stood up to both Rauner and Madigan. Our campaign offers a real chance for Illinois to break free from the politics as usual crowd. Our campaign offers the only choice voters have to take back Illinois.”
While voters selected their Democratic and Republican nominees in the March primary, third party candidates like McCann may file nominating papers between June 18 – 25. McCann will be required to get the signatures of 25,000 qualified voters.
In last month’s Republican primary, Republican State Representative Jeanne Ives challenged Rauner, who narrowly escaped with just a three-point win. The race was much closer than many expected and, consequently, highlighted just how vulnerable Rauner heading into the general election.
Democratic businessman J.B. Pritzker is also running.