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Rauner to skip GOP convention, won’t endorse Trump

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner speaks to reporters outside the Illinois State Capitol recently. | AP

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner won’t attend the Republican National Convention in July and won’t be endorsing Donald Trump, Rauner aides confirmed on Thursday, while not entirely disavowing the presumptive GOP nominee.

And it’s not yet clear whether Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger will make the trip to Cleveland, as she faces a challenge from Democrat Susana Mendoza this fall.

Rauner, who is embroiled in the state’s fiscal crisis, joins two of Illinois’ most endangered Republicans — U.S. Rep. Bob Dold and U.S. Sen Mark Kirk — in skipping the convention in an effort to distance themselves from Trump.

While Rauner has dubbed the presidential campaign’s rhetoric “appalling,” he has publicly stated — as the head of the state’s Republican Party — that he will support the nominee.

“I’ll do everything I can to work with that nominee,” Rauner said in March.

With Illinois in turmoil and crisis, Rauner would have had a hard time explaining why he’s in Cleveland as state finances are heading to the summer in a meltdown.

“As far as I am concerned, no elected Republican officials should be going to the convention until they take care of the unfinished business here,” said Ron Gidwitz, a Chicago business executive who is a major Republican activist and was a 2006 GOP candidate for governor.

Also on Thursday, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, the highest-ranking GOP official, said he’s not supporting or endorsing Trump — at least not yet.

Contributing: Lynn Sweet