High-Profile Democrats Support Rauner for Illinois Governor

Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan throws a curveball, asking voters to approve a possible 3 percent surcharge on millionaires to help pay for education. How does that play into a governor’s race that has already become about class warfare? Paris Schutz has the details on that, and how high-profile Democrats and Independents are coming out in support of Bruce Rauner.

"I’m taking a leave of absence from the Democratic Party’s campaign for governor in November and will vote for Republican Bruce Rauner for governor." These strong words came from former FCC Chair Newt Minow today. Read Minow's full commentary, published in the Chicago Tribune, below.

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Why this Democrat is voting for Rauner
March 19, 2014 | By Newton N. Minow

President John F. Kennedy once said that "sometimes party loyalty asks too much."

I believe Kennedy was right as we consider the election for Illinois governor this year. As a longtime member of the Democratic Party, I’m taking a leave of absence from the Democratic Party’s campaign for governor in November and will vote for Republican Bruce Rauner for governor. Here is why.

First, my Democratic credentials. I served as assistant counsel to Gov. Adlai E. Stevenson in Springfield in 1952. I’ve been active in the campaigns of Sen. Paul Simon, Congressman Abner Mikva and Sen. Adlai E. Stevenson III. I’ve been a member of Illinois delegations to five Democratic National Conventions.

I support President Barack Obama and the re-election this year of  Sen. Dick Durbin. If she runs, I plan to support Hillary Rodham Clinton for president in 2016.

I voted for  Gov. Pat Quinn in 2010, but would have eagerly supported either of my friends Bill Daley or Attorney General Lisa Madigan if they had run against Quinn in the Democratic primary.

I believe Quinn is a decent, honorable man, but I also believe that if we continue on the same course he has taken, we will put the future of the state of Illinois at serious risk. Illinois is drowning in debt, unemployment and dysfunction. We need to change course.

Is Rauner perfect? Of course not. I disagree with him on some issues, especially guns. But on the issue of financial survival of our state, he is right.

We have serious fiscal mismanagement, giving Illinois one of our nation’s highest unemployment rates and lowest credit ratings. Our neighbors in Iowa, Indiana and Wisconsin are not smarter or more hard working than the people of Illinois, yet they are doing far better.

We need change, and Rauner will  lead us in the right direction and improve the future for our families. He is a moderate on social issues, and his record on human rights, choice, freedom and equality is excellent. He is not a right-wing Republican.

His wife, Diana (a Democrat) will be a major asset for our state; she runs The Ounce of Prevention Fund, a top-notch nonprofit institution for preschool education, created decades ago by my friend Irving B. Harris. The Rauners have a bipartisan home life, and the same spirit and tone of their politics will animate a Rauner gubernatorial administration. I urge Bruce and Diana to emphasize this fact in the general election campaign.

When Gov. Stevenson welcomed delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1952, he said: "Here, my friends, on the prairies of Illinois and of the Middle West, we can see a long way in all directions ... Here there are no barriers, no defenses, to ideas and to aspirations. We want none; we want no shackles on the mind or the spirit, no rigid pattern of thought, and no iron conformity."

That is why I am taking a leave of absence from the Democratic campaign for governor this year. No iron conformity this time.

Newton N. Minow, a Chicago lawyer, was chairman of the Federal Communications Commission from 1961 to 1963.

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