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More cash for Bruce Rauner and more endorsements for Kirk Dillard again

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EXAMINER: More cash for Rauner and more endorsements for Dillard again

With less than two weeks until the March 18th Illinois Primary Election, the Republican race for governor this week seemed like a replay of the last two weeks. But according to a recent poll, nothing really changed.

On Monday, businessman Bruce Rauner gave his campaign another $1million to fend off any impact a series of powerful anti-Rauner ads may have. This pushed Rauner’s self-funding tally to $6 million, a record for an Illinois gubernatorial candidate, previously held by another Chicago businessman, Ron Gidwitz, who donated $5.3 million in a 2006 losing effort.

State Senator Kirk Dillard continued his approach of securing major endorsements, adding the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31 (AFSCME) yesterday and the Illinois Education Association (IEA) earlier this week. This is substantial because AFSCME is comprised of 100,000 retired and current public service workers in the state and the IEA boasts 130,000 teachers and education professionals as members. Dillard also sent out a detailed, multi-page, economic plan to likely Republican voters and thanks to the Fund for Progress and Jobs, started running television ads in Chicago this week. The Dillard union endorsements actually made him the target for Rauner, State Senator Bill Brady and Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford to pounce on at a debate last night on WGN-TV.

But, even with all those positives for Dillard this week, per a recent poll, it isn’t working. According to a ‘We Ask America’ poll conducted Tuesday, of the 1,262 likely GOP voters surveyed, Rauner led with 40 percent, followed by respective percentages for Dillard, Brady and Rutherford of 14.5, 12 and 8 with 26 percent still undecided. The margin of error was 2.85 percent and it was conducted prior to the ad sinking in and the AFSCME endorsement.

The way this is trending per this poll, the race may be over. Since a ‘We Ask America’ poll of February 25th, Rauner gained four points, Dillard lost 2.5 points, Brady lost a point, Rutherford lost 0.5 points and the undecided pool went down a point.

But, stranger things can happen. Dillard now has a television presence and is gaining endorsements from the very group Rauner has vilified in his campaign - labor. If labor casts votes en masse for Dillard and Dillard rallies his historic support base in DuPage County, the actual numbers may look very different from the polls. But will it happen and will it be enough? There’s little time for speculation because early voting has already started and the election is only 12 days away.

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