Bailey says Rauner just trying to save face
State Rep.-elect Darren Bailey, a Republican from Xenia, doesn't believe Gov. Bruce Rauner's latest comments about the gubernatorial election.
“I don’t think for a minute he came close to not running for reelection,” Bailey told the SE Illinois News. “I think it’s his pride and arrogance that’s saying that now, and those are the very characteristics that got him in trouble with so many voters to start with.”
Rauner recently turned heads when he told ABC News that he thought long and hard about ending his campaign for reelection and he tried to find a replacement candidate.
After narrowly defeating Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) in the primary, Rauner was easily ousted by his Democratic rival, J.B. Pritzker, in last month’s general election.
“I’ve been saying for a while now, that the local Republican Party is devoid of leadership and needs a complete overhaul, and this whole episode is further proof of that,” said Bailey, elected in November to the Illinois House of Representatives representing the 109th District. “If he really felt that way and his heart really wasn’t in it, Jeanne Ives would have been a perfect candidate to replace him for the good of Republican voters and the state as a whole, and she was already in the race.”
In all, Rauner said he spoke with four potential candidates from the “political and business worlds” about replacing him as the party’s standard-bearer. Former state Sen. Karen McConnaughay and Todd Ricketts, part owner of the Chicago Cubs, are rumored to have been two of them.
“Again, I just think he’s being delusional,” Bailey added. “I don’t know how much influence he truly has with voters if he thinks he could have pulled something like that off.”
Bailey said he finds Rauner’s talk of having been hurt by President Donald Trump’s 2016 run just as off base.
“I don’t find it to be real at all,” he said. “I told the governor I thought he made a huge mistake when he started distancing himself from Trump in the beginning. He made plenty of mistakes of his own making, and now it just seems like he’s trying to save face.”
The 109th House District includes Clay, Edwards, Effingham, Jasper, Lawrence, Richland, Wabash, Wayne and White counties.