Why does this guy want to be governor?
That’s the question I hear most often about Bruce Rauner, the Republican multi-millionaire businessman running against Gov. Pat Quinn this November.
There’s an implication in the question that something sinister is afoot. The man must have evil, self-serving intentions not yet revealed. He’s hiding something.
I don’t recall the question being asked about former governors George Ryan, a Republican, or Rod Blagojevich, a Democrat, when they were candidates.
Ryan spent decades working his way through the political system in this state, and everyone knew he lusted after the top job. He fumed when relative upstart Jim Edgar seemed to leapfrog past him and successfully ran for governor in 1991.
Having served as speaker of the Illinois House, lieutenant governor to Jim Thompson and Illinois Secretary of State, political observers knew Ryan was salivating to become governor by 1999.
Blagojevich, who had been a congressman, married the daughter of Chicago Ald. Richard Mell, and was rumored to be interested in the governor’s mansion almost from the day he went to Washington, D.C. He was young, ambitious, politically connected and had dreams, some said, of someday becoming president of the United States.
No one said, “Why does this guy want to be governor?”
And then there’s Pat Quinn, a fellow who spent 30 years as a political insider, outsider, activist, maverick and general pain in the news media to fellow members of his own Democratic Party.
Of course he wanted to be governor.
The question about Rauner’s motives arise in part because he has never shown an interest in running for political office prior to this campaign.