Linking Dem gubernatorial hopefuls to Madigan called strategic mistake
GOP attempts to tie presumed Democrat 2018 gubernatorial front-runners J.B. Pritzker and Chris Kennedy to Illinois' powerful State House Speaker Mike Madigan and his high-tax programs will not help re-elect Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, a conservative pundit said during a recent radio talk show.
"Mike Madigan isn't on the ballot," Illinois Opportunity Project co-founder Pat Hughes said on "Illinois Rising." "Pritzker and Kennedy are going to distance themselves from him. I think they've taken this strategy as far as they can. I think it works better at the state legislative level, but at the governor's level, I don't think it works at all."
However, there is a tie-in to the Democrat candidates for governor in that they will raise taxes, Hughes said.
"They're going to parse that out," Hughes said. "They're going to say, 'We're going to raise taxes, but it's only going to be on the kind of people who we don't look to vote for us.' Then they're going to give some sort of fake, faux tax break."
Hughes, a Hinsdale attorney and real estate developer, is president of the Liberty Justice Center and co-founder with Dan Proft of the Illinois Opportunity Project. Proft, Liberty Principles PAC chairperson and treasurer, is a principal of Local Government Information Services, which owns this publication.
Rauner's approval ratings are among the lowest in the nation, coming in 44th in a recent Morning Consult poll that ranked the nation's 50 governors. In somewhat positive news, though, his disapproval rating of 49 percent in that poll marked a drop from the 56 percent registered in September. Rauner ranked better than Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Mary Fallin of Oklahoma, Bill Walker of Arkansas, Rick Snyder of Michigan, Dan Malloy of Connecticutt, Sam Brownback of Kansas and Chris Christie of Jew Jersey.
Illinois Republicans have for months been making the connections between Madigan and the presumed Democrat gubernatorial front-runners, suggesting their support of Madigan-style taxes will translate into more tax increases should they be elected governor.
The new state budget, passed in early July despite Rauner's veto attempt, includes a record 32 percent increase in personal and corporate taxes.
Pritzker in particular has signaled his support for a Madigan-style tax agenda, the Illinois GOP warned in a press release.
However, as much of a liability as Madigan could be for Democrats in the 2018 governor's race, making the connection between those candidates and Illinois' longtime House speaker simply won't work for the GOP, Hughes said.
"It's campaigning by proxy, which never really works," Hughes said. "It's the wrong proxy. Pritzker is not in Springfield, so he's going to distance himself from that combination."