CHRONICLE: Republican State Senator McCann expected to challenge Rauner, on Conservative Party line

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A Republican State Senator is likely to announce a third-party bid for governor this week, according to sources. Sam McCann, of Jacksonville, is expected to announce he will run as a Conservative Party candidate.

McCann, who had previously announced he would not be seeking re-election, has been a critic of Rauner’s leadership and has opposed the Governor on numerous policy issues.

“It is clear that the Illinois Republican Party, including several of the county party organizations, has lost its way under Gov. Rauner,” McCann said when announcing his retirement. “This is no longer a Republican Party that is recognizable to me.”

In 2016, Rauner invested heavily in a primary challenger seeking to oust McCann because he voted against the Governor on a labor issue. McCann has alleged that Rauner threatened him, saying “I’ll destroy you and your family if you go through with this,” meaning, voting against Rauner’s position.

Ultimately McCann prevailed in the primary race, though it was the most expensive primary race in Illinois history, costing $4.2 million. “I’m being attacked because I did what was right for this district,” McCann said at the time.

While voters selected their Democratic and Republican nominees in last month’s primary, third party candidates can 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 to be governor.

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