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LaHood unloads on Rauner for 'trashing' GOP opponents

After sitting in the same room with Diana Rauner for a fund-raiser this morning, former U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood unloaded on her newly-elected husband, Bruce Rauner, a fellow Republican.

“I don’t believe in campaigns that trash other candidates,” LaHood told the Sun-Times. “I think you ought to talk about what you’re going to do. I’m registered to vote in Peoria and I saw the literature that the Rauner campaign sent out about Rutherford and Brady and Dillard and made them look like, you know, people that they aren’t. Disparaging their public service. For what? For your own public gain. I don’t believe in that.”

On Tuesday, Rauner defeated state Senators Kirk Dillard, R-Hinsdale, and Bill Brady, R-Bloomington as well as Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford.

LaHood, who noted he is now a “private citizen” does consulting work for DLA Piper, had supported Rutherford. Rutherford arguably had the strongest campaign outside of Rauner’s before allegations of sexual harassment and political intimidation were lodged against him.

On Wednesday, Rutherford attended a fund-raiser for U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, with whom he was close when LaHood worked in Congress (as an aside, Rahm Emanuel and U.S Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., also attended the event). Rauner’s wife, Diana, was also there.

LaHood, who is from Peoria, lamented the direction that the GOP primary took, laying the blame for Rutherford’s political demise to behind-the-scenes meddling by Rauner.

“I know what Rauner did in central Illinois to Aaron Schock, he spent $1 million and trashed Aaron Schock because he thought Schock was going to be his opponent. He ran ads all over Central Illinois. Bought television ads. Obviously he was involved in the effort to trash Dan Rutherford – and it worked.”

Rauner has vehemently denied taking part in the ad attacks against Schock as well as Rutherford.