With just two days to go, embattled Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner told his supporters not to count him out of the race, vowing that polls that show him down by double digits are “baloney.”
And miles away from the Chicago machine — in Grundy, DuPage, Kane and Macon counties — the governor continued to rail against his political nemesis, Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan.
The governor and first lady Diana Rauner spent the rainy Sunday on a campaign bus, traveling to cafes and bars in Decatur, Gibson City, Morris and St. Charles. Rauner, too, led a rally for Republicans in one Cook County stop in Orland Park.
At Honest Abe’s Tap & Grill in Morris, the governor spoke of an uphill battle back to a second term, while warning a victory by Democrat J.B. Pritzker will turn the state into a “nightmare.”
“People are counting us out now. They’re saying, ‘Oh the polls are showing this or that,'” Rauner said. “You know what? The polls are baloney. These polls don’t mean anything. The only poll that matters is on Election Day,” Rauner said.
In the waning days of his campaign, Rauner continues to paint himself as the underdog change agent, recalling that “no one thought we could do it” four years ago, while also pledging some ambitious and likely unrealistic goals.
“We had a supermajority against us and it was brutal,” Rauner said of the Democratic majority in both the Illinois House and Senate. “But you know what? Two years ago, thanks to your hard work, we picked up six seats in the General Assembly to knock Mike Madigan out of the supermajority. And you know what? what we’re going to do this time … we’re going to pick up nine seats in the House and knock Mike Madigan out. He’s not going to be the speaker of the House anymore.
“That’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to get him out,” Rauner said.
Rauner said Pritzker and Madigan in charge will mean “one-party, one-person rule” with gerrymandered districts, more taxes and more spending.
The governor said “the truth is good for us.” He said Pritzker is trying to buy the election “with a bunch of lies” and “phony baloney.”
When the governor told the crowd the billionaire Democrat had outspent him by $100 million, someone in the bar screamed, “Screw him.”
Rauner was surrounded by Republican allies, including running mate Evelyn Sanguinetti, Illinois Comptroller candidate Darlene Senger, Illinois State Treasurer candidate Jim Dodge and Congressman Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill.
Hours before Democrats, led by former President Barack Obama, packed the University of Illinois in Chicago, Kinzinger told the packed Grundy County bar he envisions a “red wave” on Tuesday. He said there’s “the other party on the other side of the aisle that’s more interested in trying to point out, or make up facts, or say things are wrong, because they don’t like a certain person or because they feel like their grip of power has slipped out of their hands because frankly it has.”
“I think there’s two options that people have to vote on, on Tuesday,” Kinzinger said. “You can either vote for resistance or you can vote for results.”
Kinzinger said Madigan “has done everything to divide the state of Illinois.”
“But I’ve got to tell you that I’m optimistic that on Tuesday, people are going to get to that ballot box and they’re going to say we want the governor to continue the job he started, and that is to save Illinois from the brink and make it the greatest state of the union once again,” Kinzinger said.
Rauner bucked a campaign tradition of visiting churches the Sunday before Election Day, choosing instead to target his voter base elsewhere. But Republican candidate for Illinois attorney general Erika Harold visited a Chicago church with family on Sunday morning.
Harold, in a close race against Democratic state Sen. Kwame Raoul, also attended a rally in Orland Park with the statewide ticket, including Rauner.
Harold spent her Saturday canvassing with Congressman Peter Roskam, R-Ill., in Naperville, State Sen. Mike Connelly, R-Naperville, and State Rep. Grant Wehrli, R-Naperville, in Lisle, and State Sen. John Curran, R-Downers Grove, in Western Springs, her campaign said.
Pritzker, instead, visited two churches before the Obama Chicago rally — one on the Far South Side and another in the Northwest Side Hermosa neighborhood.
Combating the Democratic get-out-the-vote rally, Rauner’s campaign on Sunday evening announced the Republican ticket will hold a rally Monday evening at Benedictine University in Lisle.