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VIEWPOINT Who Will Defeat Governor Rauner?
by Terry Cosgrove, President and CEO, Personal PAC
2018-01-26

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The Personal PAC Board voted to endorse JB Pritzker after fully considering the qualifications of all of the candidates and conducting in-depth interviews of Daniel Biss, Chris Kennedy and JB Pritzker. Despite claims by their supporters to the contrary, none of these candidates is without flaws. That is to be expected from loyal partisans, passionate supporters and close friends of each candidate.

Governor Rauner lacks the capacity to tell the truth and does not hesitate to take inconsistent positions on the same issue at any given time. The only way to fully protect the reproductive rights of all women in Illinois for the next decade is to defeat Bruce Rauner on November 6, 2018. Within hours of the polls closing on March 20, the Rauner team will unleash a non-stop torrent of television, radio, direct mail and social media ads that will cost upwards of $250 million on a 7+ month nonstop assault on the winner of the Democratic primary.

Because Rauner has accomplished little to nothing over the past 4 years, his ads will be negative, untruthful and predictable: Biss voted for Speaker Madigan and ran his Super PAC; Kennedy sought Speaker Madigan's endorsement at some point; Pritzker is secretly Speaker Madigan's candidate; and all three have ties to the evil Cook County Democratic party. Wash. Rinse. Spin. Repeat.

Beware of those who refuse to learn from history. After the 2006 primary election, then severely wounded and endangered incumbent Governor Rod Blagojevich found himself facing Judy Baar Topinka, one of the most popular and admired officials from one end of Illinois to the other among Independents, Democrats and Republicans. The Blagojevich campaign was smartly flush with money and Topinka was broke after the primary, leaving the Blagojevich campaign to immediately launch a brilliant non-stop campaign of "Judy Baar Topinka: What's She Thinking?" ads. With no money, Topinka never had a chance to recover from or respond to those ads and this highly respected candidate was trounced by Blagovich's team in the November election.

The Rauner campaign will be the 2006 Blagojevich campaign on steroids, regardless of who wins the 2018 Democratic primary on March 20. Given the near unanimous agreement among Democrats and progressive independents that Rauner must be defeated and the few significant policy differences among the Democratic nominees, including support for reproductive rights, the critical question is which Democrat is in the best position to defeat Bruce Rauner.

I completely reject the most common arguments about this race, which are 1 ) Rauner can't possibly win ( think Donald Trump ); 2 ) Democrats won't be united around any one candidate ( see none are without flaws above ); 3 ) Money shouldn't matter and is evil ( think Rauner's $250 million, Citizen's United is the law of the land in 2018 no matter how much anyone hates it ). It is quite possible that, despite being incredibly unpopular, Governor Rauner could win a second term. Democrats must be united behind their nominee and money does matter a great deal.

As I frequently tell people, don't expect me to show-up to a proverbial knife fight against anti-choice activists with my left leg in a cast, my right arm tied behind my back, holding a toothpick, and expect me to win for pro-choice candidates. It's-not-happening! We have to show up on a level playing field and play by the rules, whether we like the rules or not. Complaining about the rules in the middle of an election is like showing up for a rugby game and complaining about the rules and the players on your team, saying "if only the players and rules were different, I could win this match." The same is true in politics. If you are going to sign-up to compete as a candidate or supporter of a candidate, know the rules and accept them. It's called reality. Think passing HB 40, thank you.

I firmly believe JB Pritzker is the very last person Rauner wants to face in November, as only JB can go toe-to-toe with Rauner hours after the polls close on March 20 through the November 6 general election. Why would Rauner spend millions and millions of dollars before the Democratic primary attacking Pritzker instead of his Republican challenger? Rauner will immediately bury Biss or Kennedy in an avalanche of social media, radio and tv ads starting at 5 a.m. on Wed. March 21, from which they will never recover a la Blago/Topinka 2006. Instead, at that same time on March 21, Pritzker's team will be up with their onslaught of ads against Rauner that will never cease until November 6, even as Rauner spends $250 million to survive. Pritzker will not be outdone, outsmarted, outspent or intimidated by Rauner. Pritzker is building the deepest statewide campaign apparatus I have ever seen by a gubernatorial candidate whose organizers are embedding themselves in local communities in 25+ field offices with over 100 full-time staff from Rockford to Carbondale, in Cook County and the Collar counties. Pritzker social media platforms are diverse and massive. His paid television and radio is superb with high rotation statewide, along with his direct mail campaign, making a huge impact in every corner of the state. And it is only January. No other candidate has travelled to and spent more time in as many counties as Pritzker has in this campaign. Pritzker is the only candidate in the Democratic primary that is doing more to unite the Democrats than divide them. That demonstrates strong leadership.

JB Pritzker's commitment to progressive values and reproductive freedom is lifelong. He marched with us in the 1993 Washington, D.C. National March for Abortion Rights and was one of the earliest allies of LGBTQ rights in Chicago decades ago, long before it was "mainstream" and comfortable for most other people to do so openly.

In addition to Personal PAC believing JB Pritzker is the best candidate to defeat Rauner, a broad range of diverse organizations and individuals across Illinois have endorsed only his candidacy, including nearly every labor union that has made an endorsement to date, Citizen Action, Democratic County Chairs' Association, Illinois Education Association ( IEA ), Illinois AFL-CIO, Illinois Federation of Teachers ( IFT ), United Mine Workers, United Steelworkers District 7, U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin, U.S. Reps. Mike Quigley. Cheri Bustos and Luis Gutierrez, State Treasurer Mike Frerichs, Comptroller Susana Mendoza, Secretary of State Jess White, HB 40 Senate sponsor Heather Steans, HB 40 House sponsor Sara Feigenholtz, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle City Clerk Anna Valencia along with dozens of other State Senators and State Representatives, Alderpeople and Cook County elected officials. All of us united behind JB Pritzker to defeat Bruce Rauner.

We cannot allow Rauner to be re-elected. I firmly believe JB Pritzker is the best candidate to prevent that from happening on November 6, 2018.

Always in equality and choice ( no exceptions! ),

Terry Cosgrove

Personal PAC President & CEO


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