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Kirk Dillard stock is rising from dysfunctional Illinois GOP gubernatorial field

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Four candidates want the Republican nomination for governor of Illinois for the right to take on the presumed Democratic nominee, the presumptive favorite Governor Pat Quinn.

The four candidates are Bruce Rauner of Winnetka, Illinois State Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington and Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford of Chenoa and Illinois State Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale.

Bruce Rauner wants to run Illinois "like a business," but if that means run it like the way he and his private equity firm, GTCR, ran the "nursing home business," the state of Illinois is in real trouble. Rauner and his former firm that he co-founded have outstanding judgments against them for "nursing home abuse, neglect and deaths" against them to the tune of more than $2 billion dollars. That is billion with a "b."

State Sen. Bill Brady almost won the governor's race in 2010, but a last-minute push by organized labor, led by then Federation of Labor head Dennis Gannon, derailed Brady's candidacy by a relatively handful of votes. This time, Brady is not resonating with the voters and his fundraising is weak.

On Friday, Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford candidacy blew up in a very public way at a press conference that he called in which he said essentially "I can't anything, but Bruce Rauner is screwing me." It calls into serious question whether Rutherford has the right temperament to become the next governor of Illinois.

Late Friday, Rich Miller's Capitol Fax reported that the charges against Rutherford that the allegations against Rutherford are "serious and real," according to the attorney filing the charges against Rutherford.

That leaves one man that could save the Illinois Republican Party.

State Senator Kirk Dillard, who was former Governor Jim Edgar's chief-of-staff.

Dillard is emerging is the sane one in the field that has the even temperament to run the government of Illinois in this dysfunctional field of candidates. While it is acknowledged that Dillard is not running the best of campaigns, his ability to govern is unquestioned on both sides of the aisle.

Dillard is dealing with many of the issues in the state of Illinois, while Rauner attacks "union bosses" and "career politicians." But Rauner is weak on the issues.

By the same token, neither Brady nor Rutherford have dealt directly with the issues.

Recently, Dillard called on passing a bill that would require state Constitutional Officers and state lawmakers to carry the same standard health insurance benefits that citizens are now required to carry under Obamacare.

"Far too often, legislators pass laws effecting everyone else, but then exempt themselves," Dillard said. "Most citizens believe that their elected officials should play by the same rules as they are required to. This has never been more evident than when you talk to people about Obamacare."

Dillard also called for a cut in the sales tax on gasoline, providing almost a half billion dollars of needed relief for motorists at the pump. Dillard’s proposal, which includes a bonding provision, also provides almost a billion for failing roads and bridges.

"This will save a typical family in Illinois nearly $200 a year while also putting people to work on road and bridge projects that are in dire need of repair," Dillard said. "We already pay among the highest gas prices in the nation, and this is really a tax on a tax. It’s just plain unfair."

The proposal, which is part of Dillard’s "Destination Economy" jobs plan, would reduce the 5 percent state sales tax on gas, while leaving the local government portion undisturbed.

Republican candidate for Governor Kirk Dillard today issued the following statement in response to Speaker Madigan's plan:

"Speaker Madigan's proposal coming one day after the Governor's State of the State address shows how even Madigan saw how little substance and vision there were in the Governor's remarks. It's also clear that Madigan is running the show and setting the agenda.

"As for the Speaker's proposal, it's great to see the Democrats finally recognize that Illinois has a horrible business climate and is a major reason why Illinois ranks dead last in job creation.

"We need real tax reform, not a piecemeal approach. We also haven't heard from Madigan or the Governor whether they plan to extend the temporary 67 percent income tax increase."

While Dillard is out campaigning and discussing the issues, Rauner is on the defensive about his time at GTCR and defending the lawsuits against him in the "nursing home" business.

Meanwhile, Rutherford is busy defending himself on "bad behavior" in the Illinois treasurer's office. The strange press conference shows his poor temperament.

Here is how Dan Mihalopoulos of the Chicago Sun Times described the events leading up to that press conference.

State Treasurer Dan Rutherford strode confidently into the downtown hotel meeting room where he held a news conference Friday morning, smiling at reporters like he had come to announce an endorsement, unveil a policy initiative or share some other ostensibly positive news in his bid for Republican nomination for governor.

What followed was anything but a routine campaign event. Rutherford announced that an investigation was being launched by his office of the Illinois State Treasurer about what isn't exactly clear.

"Let me make this very clear, there is absolutely no truth to the allegations. No factual support or merit," said a clearly flustered and frustrated Rutherford.

He didn't do it, whatever it is. But he can't talk about it, although he wished that he could.

Dillard could be the winner by default.

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Sources:

St. Louis Post Dispatch

NBC News 5

Voices, Sun Times - Shakedown

Other related pieces about Bruce Rauner by John Presta:

Bruce Rauner, GTCR linked to nursing home deaths and abuse, say multiple lawsuits

Bruce Rauner charter schools

Bruce Rauner campaign 'minimum wage' snafus

Bruce Rauner says lower Illinois minimum wage

Bruce Rauner raises $4 million

Bruce Rauner is the Mitt Romney of Illinois politics (Part 1)

Bruce Rauner is the Mitt Romney of Illinois politics (Part 2)

Bruce Rauner is the Mitt Romney of Illinois politics (Part 3)

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Send John Presta an email and your story ideas or suggestions, johnpresta@att.net.

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