And so it begins.
Or should I say, explodes.
A day after Bruce Rauner was doing damage control for his self-described “flippant” remarks advocating for a lower minimum wage, Rauner took aim at his old target, union leaders.
“The government union bosses, they are bribing the politician to give them unaffordable pensions, free health care, outrageous pay and benefits and they are bankrupting our state government, they are raising our taxes and they are forcing businesses out of our state and as a result we have brutally high unemployment,” Rauner, a Winnetka venture capitalist, said this morning in a WGN-AM radio interview.
The comment has incensed the Illinois Federation of Teachers who called it “unconscionable” and point the finger back at Rauner, calling him a hypocrite who donated millions of dollars to politicians — including in states where he has done business.
“The real Bruce Rauner is a hypocrite who will stop at nothing to enact his right-wing fantasy of cutting the minimum wage by a dollar an hour – including accusing teachers, firefighters, and nurses of illegal activity as he did today,” said Dan Montgomery, the president of the Illinois Federation of Teachers. “Like any typical politician, he is desperately trying to convince voters that he’s just like you and me, but he crossed a line with this allegation.”
Rauner often assails the heads of unions as “government union bosses.” The IFT points out that Montgomery is a “high school English teacher of 20 years.” This is just the beginning of the shoving match that’s to ensue between the Rauner campaign and unions, which the businessman has waged a war against. Unions are working behind the scenes to funnel money toward an anti-Rauner TV ad campaign.
For his part, Rauner has pumped more than $2 million into campaign advertising, in part, to boost name recognition before the March 18 GOP gubernatorial primary.