Radio host predicts Rauner vs. Kennedy in 2018
Despite the aspirations of a billionaire, a state senator and a school superintendent, the Democratic Party will probably be backing the man with the political pedigree when the gubernatorial election takes place in 2018, a conservative radio host predicted.
Chris Kennedy, son of the late Robert F. Kennedy and nephew of the late John F. Kennedy, is the party's best hope for defeating Gov. Bruce Rauner, Pat Hughes, co-host of "Illinois Rising," said.
"I think he is a formidable opponent for Rauner because he's not of Springfield, and he can argue that he's the new reformer coming from the outside," Hughes said. "And he has a credible claim to do it."
Hughes and Dan Proft founded the Illinois Opportunity Project. Proft is also Liberty Principles PAC chairperson and treasurer, as well as a senior fellow at the Chicago-based conservative think tank Illinois Policy Institute, which presents "Illinois Rising."
Proft is also a principal of Local Government Information Services, which owns this publication.
On April 6, businessman J.B. Pritzker took his place in line with other Democrats who want to spoil Rauner's plans for a second term. He joins Kennedy, who announced his bid in February, as well as state Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston), who announced in March; Bob Daiber, Madison County regional superintendent of schools, who announced in February; and Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar, who announced in January.
Chicago City Treasurer Kurt Summers has said he is also exploring the possibility of entering the Democrat field.
Kennedy recently donated $250,100 to his campaign, which lifted the spending caps for all candidates. Rauner's $50 million donation to his re-election campaign came in December, so was too early to lift the caps even higher.
Hughes said he expects Kennedy to lead the pack of Democrats, with Pritzker falling back and Biss likely having a difficult time gaining any traction at all.
"I still think it's a Kennedy lead and the idea, based on name recognition, based on the money," Hughes said. "I think Biss is going to have a hard time, Dan. He's trying to disassociate himself from Springfield. How in the world is he going to do that?"
Biss will find fundraising to be tough with the likes of Kennedy and Pritzker in the primary, Hughes said.
"So Biss, I think, is maybe a long shot at this point," he said.
Hughes also criticized Rauner's most recent political advertisement.
"I don't like duct tape," he said. "I don't like this idea that he's in his garage doing god knows what. It feels like it's a retro back to the days when he could campaign as an outsider, which currently he, unfortunately, no longer can."
It's just the wrong messaging, Hughes said.
"Though I do applaud the effort of getting out there," Hughes said. "Because one thing I've criticized the governor on a lot is that he is not out there nearly enough on the grand bargain. He completely capitulated and let that get out of control. So the fact they're trying to reinvigorate him is good, even if the reinvention, I think, is not as likely."