Rauner vows victory, calls Ives ‘unelectable’ — she dubs him ‘pathological liar’

SHARE Rauner vows victory, calls Ives ‘unelectable’ — she dubs him ‘pathological liar’
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Gov. Bruce Rauner (left) talks to reporters on Monday. | Tina Sfondeles/Sun-Times; Republican primary challenger Jeanne Ives (right) speaks a a news conference Monday at Trump Tower. | Erin Brown/Sun-Times

A defiant Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner predicted victory Monday over his ultra-conservative primary rival on Tuesday — and against the Democrats in November.

“Let me be clear. We aren’t going to lose,” Rauner said. “I’m a fighter. I never give up, and I have fought hard for six years. I’ve lost 20 pounds, most of my hair, and why is it worth it? Because this is home, and home is worth fighting for. And we’re going to win in November.”

Rauner’s comments came at a campaign news conference in Hanover Park, where he blasted the Democratic Governors Association for running ads that call his primary challenger, state Rep. Jeanne Ives, “too conservative.” The governor dubbed the inter-party primary meddling a “manipulation of the political process.”

For her part, Ives spoke with reporters at the Trump International Tower and Hotel on Monday afternoon, calling Rauner “treacherous” and “dishonest,” as both a governor and a Republican candidate.

While the Democratic gubernatorial primary has received the lion’s share attention since last year, the Republican primary will also be one to watch on Tuesday. If Rauner loses, he will become the first Illinois governor seeking re-election to lose a primary in 42 years — and the first GOP governor in 90 years.

The Democratic Governors Association last week released a 30-second spot that calls Ives, R-Wheaton, “just too conservative for Illinois.” The Democrats are also tacitly telling GOP voters they will find Rauner too liberal, and seeking to energize Ives’ more conservative base. The Democratic organization also released a companion ad attacking Rauner’s record.

Billionaire entrepreneur J.B. Pritzker, believed to be the front-runner for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, donated $2 million to the Democratic Governors Association in June.

“We got to let the voters know the truth of what’s really going on,” Rauner said at Round Ground Metals. “And the Democratic Governors Association, the Washington Democrats and Pritzker, they know that I’m going to beat them in November. I’m going to beat them. They know they can beat Ives. They want Ives to win. They’re promoting Ives. …We are going to win in November. We are the team that can win and will win in November.”

Rauner was asked whether Ives, indeed, is “too conservative for Illinois.”

“That’s the promotional line from the Democratic Governors Association because they’re trying to fool the voters. They want people to be misled and to have Republican primary voters vote for Ives because they know that they can beat her in November,” Rauner said. “Ives will not win in November. She can’t win. She’s not electable statewide. They know that I am. That’s why they’re running scared. That’s why they’re trying to interfere in this primary.

Asked why he believes Ives is “unelectable statewide,” Rauner said “she’s been part of the system,” citing votes against property tax relief.

Rauner has been running attack ads against Pritzker for months, and was asked how the Democrats’ interference in the Republican primary is any different.

“Meddling ain’t the word for what the DGA is doing,” Rauner said. “Here’s the key. [Illinois House Speaker Mike] Madigan rigged the primary for Pritzker last year. That primary has been over. He had all the special interest groups that fund his machine support Pritzker. None of the machine, the Chicago political machine of Madigan, has helped any of Pritzker’s opponents. That primary has been over and so you haven’t heard me say, ‘Biss is too liberal.’ You haven’t heard or seen me say, ‘Vote Kennedy.’

“I’ve never done that and wouldn’t have done that. Pritzker is going to be their nominee because he’s a corrupt insider. He’s going to support Madigan. We are slowing down Madigan’s momentum. That’s what we are doing,” Rauner said.

Ives last week said she believed she’s “within striking distance” of Rauner during a WTTW candidate forum. Previous polls had shown Rauner with a comfortable, double-digit lead. And in response to the Democratic attack ads, an Ives spokeswoman said Ives “wears attacks from the radical Left as badges of honor whether they come from Leftists at the DGA or the Leftist, fake Republican Bruce Rauner.”

Rauner on Monday said he doesn’t pay attention to polls: “I pay attention to every election. We take every election seriously. We need everybody to vote in this primary. Don’t take anything for granted. We don’t take anything for granted.”

Rauner, too, painted what he believes to be a bleak picture of the state should Pritzker win the Democratic primary.

“If Pritzker, heaven forbid, wins in November, turn out the lights and you watch other bad legislators land underneath his banner and Madigan may well come back into a supermajority with Pritzker. You get Pritzker, Madigan supermajority, it’s over for Illinois. Income taxes are going to go through the roof, property taxes are going to go through the roof and jobs are going to fly out the state. Turn out the lights.”

Speaking at the Trump International Hotel and Tower on Monday afternoon, Ives called Rauner a “disgrace” whose campaign is “all built on lies”—the biggest of which is that she is a tool of House Speaker Mike Madigan.

“I’m Mike Madigan’s worst nightmare, not his BFF,” Ives said.

“As treacherous and dishonest as he has been as governor, he has been worse as a candidate for governor,” Ives told reporters at a press conference.

Ives acknowledged the intentional symbolism of the location.

Unlike Rauner, who “refuses to say our President’s name,” Ives said “the best thing about Donald Trump is that he stands for draining the swamp in Washington D.C., and there’s no bigger swamp that needs to be drained in state capitols than the one in Springfield, and I stand for that.”

She suggested Rauner was a “pathological liar” for claiming that ads targeting her by the Democratic Governors Association should be reported as an –in-kind contribution to her campaign.

“Bruce Rauner doesn’t suffer for the possession of dignity, self-respect or honor,” Ives said.

Ives’ supporters who joined her for the press conference predicted she will win.

“I think you’re going to see a huge upset tomorrow,” said State Rep. Tom Morrison (R-Palatine).

Ives said Rauner’s campaign ads tying her to Madigan have been effective with Downstate voters especially who have been bombarded with “lying mail” and TV ads.

“It’s so pathetic that this governor is counting on uninformed voters for his victory,” she said.

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