Mayor Rahm Emanuel and millionaire venture capitalist Bruce Rauner are friends, school reforms allies and business associates whose families have vacationed together.
But, the mayor made it clear Thursday he’s not about to climb aboard the political bandwagon Rauner is driving aimed at imposing term limits.
“My view is, you have term limits. They’re called elections. That’s what elections are for. You stand before the voters and you run for election…An active and engaged public will do that,” the mayor said.
Ignoring the fact that the city’s new ward boundaries were drawn to protect incumbents, Emanuel said, “My way of [imposing term limits] is dealing with how the maps are drawn and bringing real competition, rather than actually through re-districting, taking it out. But, I don’t believe in arbitrary term limits. I haven’t supported that in the past. I wouldn’t change now.”
Rauner has made term limits a cornerstone of his deep-pockets campaign for governor.
He’s promised to serve two terms and out if elected governor while branding incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn a “career politician who failed to deliver” term limits after championing a constitutional amendment for term limits 20 years ago.
Rauner has also formed and chairs a political action committee that’s trying to get the term limit question on the ballot.
Earlier this year, Emanuel said he intends to support Quinn, not only in the Democratic primary, where the governor is running unopposed, but in the general election — even if Rauner emerges as the Republican nominee.
The mayor acknowledged that Rauner is “a friend.” But, he also maintained that the two men “vigorously disagree on policy” and the fundamental role of government.
“He thinks government is the problem,” Crain’s quoted the mayor as saying. “I wouldn’t be talking about [reforming] education and other things if I didn’t think government was the solution. While [Rauner] may be a friend, we disagree. I’m going to support Gov. Quinn for re-election.”
Emanuel and Quinn have had their differences over everything from casino gambling and CTA funding cuts to who will lead the stadium authority that oversees U.S. Cellular Field.
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Republican gubernatorial challenger Kirk Dillard has advanced the Machiavellian theory that Emanuel is trying to help his friend Rauner win the crowded Republican primary for governor by endorsing Quinn.