Greek parade organizer: Rauner, Quinn lineup left him sleepless

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Bruce Rauner has said he was so angry about an attempt to drive him out of the Greek Independence Parade last March, that he said he came close to “punching” somebody.

Parade organizer Basilios Dimitrios Mataragas, who is also president of the Federation of Hellenic American Organizations of Illinois, said he didn’t know of an attempt to kick Rauner out. However, Mataragas, reached by phone by Early & Often while he was vacationing in the Greek islands, said there was so much behind-the-scenes maneuvering from people supporting both Rauner and Quinn in the days before the parade that Mataragas said he couldn’t sleep.

What did they want?

They wanted their guy to be first in line.

“Four days before, I could not sleep because the pressure I was under for who I put in front and who I put behind,” Mataragas told Early & Often. “I felt, I cannot play anybody’s political campaign. We were not there to promote anybody’s campaign.” 

RELATED: Rauner says he was close to ‘punching somebody’ in race

Mataragas insists he didn’t hear directly from the campaigns but from others who were supporters. He said it was a matter that left him tossing and turning. 

“I decided, the governor is the governor,” Mataragas said. “He’s elected governor. I had to put him in the front.” 

“We’re a non-partisan, independent parade.” 

Mataragas said he heard from U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk’s office as well: “They were very nice.” 

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