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Kirk Dillard surging in WGN/Chicago Tribune poll while Bruce Rauner loses ground

A new poll was released yesterday by WGN and the Chicago Tribune, which now shows that Illinois State Senator Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale has gained tremendous ground in the GOP governor's primary race. Dillard has doubled the percentage of probable voters backing him since last month, according to the Sun Times.

Republican candidates for governor of Illinois, Bill Brady, Dan Rutherford, Kirk Dillard, and Bruce Rauner prepare to speak on March 4, 2014 at a public forum at the David and Reva Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago in Chicago.
Republican candidates for governor of Illinois, Bill Brady, Dan Rutherford, Kirk Dillard, and Bruce Rauner prepare to speak on March 4, 2014 at a public forum at the David and Reva Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago in Chicago.(Photo by Terrence Antonio James-Pool/Getty Images)

Bruce Rauner still holds a lead at 36 percent, but has dropped four points since last month. Dillard was at 23 percent, Brady at 18 percent and Rutherford was at 9 percent.

The data makes sense given what we've been hearing over the last week. Sources say that two polls -- one conducted by the Democratic Governors Association, the other by a coalition of public sector unions, showed Rauner's lead was slipping, Dillard's popularity was on the rise and the percentage of undecided voters had jumped up.

If that weren't true, says one source, then we wouldn't see AFSCME's endorsement of Dillard this week and these late mega donations that have been flowing to Dillard in recent days from teachers' unions.

This comes on the backdrop of a plethora of endorsements, The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Labor Council announced its endorsement of Republican candidate for governor Kirk Dillard and his running mate State Rep. Jil Tracy. Representing more than 11,000 active duty and retired police officers, the FOP Labor Council is the largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers in Illinois.

In addition, Dillard received the endorsement of Rauner's enemy, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31, adding to the significant statewide support that he's received in the past two weeks. Council 31 represents 100,000 public service workers and retirees in the state of Illinois.

In addition to the AFSCME endorsement of Dillard, he also received endorsements from the Illinois Education Association, which represents 130,000 teachers and professional staff statewide, the more than 100,000 members Illinois Federation of Teachers and the 36,000 members of the Illinois Retired Teachers Association.

Dillard earlier this week released his jobs plan for Illinois, calling it making Illinois a Destination Economy. The plan outlines a broad vision for getting the state's fiscal house in order, cutting excessive regulations and encouraging businesses to grow and create new jobs.

On top of that, a committee formed to oppose Rauner's candidacy told the Sun-Times on Thursday it was adding a component to its strategy -- and that's backing Dillard's candidacy with a $700,000 TV ad buy.

The Chicago Sun Times Natasha Korecki asks, "What should we expect next?"

Bruce Rauner running Dillard's pro-Obama ad from 2008 will start hitting the airwaves in no time.

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Sources:

Chicago Tribune - IL GOP poll

Chicago Sun Times poll story

Kirk Dillard campaign interview

FOP website - endorsement

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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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