Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and Gov. Bruce Rauner are already butting heads, well ahead of the 2018 race for Illinois governor.
When asked about a potential race against Durbin while at the Illinois State Fair, Rauner laughed.
“Illinois is broken. The career politicians, the career politicians who have been in power, who believe in the same broken machine and are part of the same broken machine will never fix our problems,” Rauner said.
Durbin has served in Congress since 1983, and sent an email to supporters criticizing Rauner for recently vetoing a bill that would have automatically registered people to vote in Illinois.
Rauner’s criticism of Durbin fits into a larger theme he presented to his fellow Republicans during Governor’s Day at the State Fair. Without mentioning anyone by name, Rauner talked of a machine which he said controls the Illinois Democratic Party, the City of Chicago, the Illinois state government, the Illinois General Assembly and judges.
“That machine is corrupt. It’s broken. It’s wrong and it’s destroyed our system of government,” Rauner said. He also suggested there was a political influence behind a recent Cook County judge’s decision, rejecting a November ballot initiative that would change how legislative boundaries are drawn.
“They don’t want you to vote because they know you’ll want it. And you’ll take the power away from the machine. They don’t want that vote, so they’re in court. And that machine elects a lot of those judges. This is Illinois,” Rauner said to members of the Illinois Republican Party. The remap measure is now before the state Supreme Court. Rauner said the remap proposal is necessary because in most state legislative races, candidates are unopposed and voters won’t have an option of who to vote for.
“It’s a rigged system. It’s designed to protect the machine,” Rauner said.
When asked by reporters how he intends to combat a system that’s rigged, Rauner said voters could still have influence over the machine.
“The truth has been blocked from the people of Illinois. We’re gonna get the truth to them right now,” Rauner said.
He didn’t explain what he meant, but Rauner has given more than $6 million of his own money to political organizations this year. And he’s appearing in TV commercials promoting term limits for lawmakers that are currently airing.
Tony Arnold is WBEZ's State Politics reporter. Follow him @tonyjarnold.