Rauner campaign: Dove-hunting offer to $10k donors canceled

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SPRINGFIELD — Republican Bruce Rauner fired back at Gov. Pat Quinn Thursday evening over the governor’scampaign’s criticism of a dove-hunting fund-raising pitch that Rauner’s camp says was canceled “over a month ago.”

On Thursday afternoon, Quinn’s campaign circulated a copy of a Rauner fund-raising invitation to an event later in the night in Kane County at which top-shelf donors were to have been offered a chance to go dove hunting privately with Rauner if they ponied up $10,000 contributions.

Rauner’s campaign did not respond to Early & Often’s request for comment until after the story had been posted on the website.

Then, in a prepared statement, Rauner spokesman Mike Schrimpf said the fund-raising invitation that spelled out details of an event Thursday at Mac McGraw Wildlife Foundation in Dundee Township was two months old and that the dove-hunting component of it was no longer being offered to five-figure donors.

“Since the invitation you relied on is about two months old, it is out-of-date and no longer accurate,” Schrimpf told Early & Often, the Chicago Sun-Times’ political portal. “There is a fund-raising event at McGraw [Thursday], but getting to hunt with Bruce was dropped from subsequent invitations.”

The invitation Quinn’s campaign circulated had the Dundee Township event as one leg of a three-stop fund-raising pitch to Kane County donors.

The invitation also included mention of a June 26 fund-raiser where the dove-hunting offer was extended to what Rauner’s campaign characterized as “Captain”-level donors. An Oct. 3 event mentioned in the invitation was canceled, Schrimpf said.

Schrimpf did not respond to a message left on his cell phone, seeking clarity on the motivation behind canceling the private dove-hunting offer with Rauner. But he did say the decision to abandon the dove-hunting fundraising piece occurred “over a month ago.”

Earlier in the day, Quinn’s campaign had criticized Rauner’s original dove-hunting offer as an activity inaccessible to Illinoisans making the minimum wage or slightly above and stuck to its central premise even after being told the Rauner campaign’s rebuttal.

“It looks like Mr. Rauner cancelled his $10,000-a-head private dove hunt out of concern that it would make him look out of touch,” Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said. “Too late.”

Earlier, Anderson had said the original plan calling for a private dove-hunting excursion with Rauner “put a fine point on billionaire Bruce Rauner’s hostility to the middle class.”

Schrimpf ridiculed that argument, citing past Quinn statements in which he showed support for hunters.

“I’m not sure why he is now against hunting,” Schrimpf said.

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