After being ground up by the voters of Illinois, Bruce Rauner's chosen candidates can now wonder how much it really costs to buy a legislative seat in the state. Yesterday's primary results represent a clear punch in the face to an increasingly unpopular governor and the Democrats and Republicans who depended upon his generosity to fund their campaigns. Remember that Rauner came into office with only 50.27 percent of the vote, anything but a mandate. However, in the past year, he has governed as if the state of Illinois were Wisconsin or Mississippi. What these results portend for the future of Chicago State and other Illinois public universities is still unclear, but it seems reasonable to think the statewide Republican party will be in considerable trouble come November. It's time for the legislature to get busy and fund Illinois social services, public higher education and MAP. No more excuses, no more bullshit, no more defections. Here is a look at the major races in which Rauner and his allies got hammered:
In Illinois Senate district 50, Rauner's PAC spent $1.35 million on the candidacy of Bryce Benton. Benton ran against another Republican, Sam McCann, basically another crappy Republican, who had broken with Rauner on a labor vote. Despite the huge amount of cash invested in Benton, McCann won 52 to 48 percent.
In Illinois Assembly district 5, Rauner's PAC spent $500,000 to support Ken Dunkin. Now the tally stands 68 percent for Juliana Stratton, 32 percent for Dunkin. A humiliating loss for Dunkin and Rauner.
In Illinois Assembly district 22, Mike Madigan has 65 percent of the vote and an overwhelming victory. Another repudiation of Rauner.
In Illinois Assembly district 110, Republican Reggie Phillips, an EIU grad who recently broke ranks to vote with the Democrats on House Bill 2990 to fund Higher Ed and MAP, has won his election with 60 percent of the vote. Phillips reportedly received a $53,000 contribution from Rauner's PAC then before his vote in early march donated the contribution to charity. As is the case with McCann, standing up to Rauner did nothing to damage Phillips' candidacy. Another repudiation of Rauner.
Finally, in Illinois Senate district 2, Omar Aquino defeated "Rauner Democrat" and Charter School enthusiast Angelica Alfaro 53 percent to 47 percent. Again, the Rauner Agenda again looks like a loser.
Altogether, Illinois voters in contested races totally rejected Rauner's ideas, his endorsements, and his PAC money. Will this have any effect on Rauner? Doubtful. Will it have any effect on the Illinois Republican party? A good question. Rauner never had a mandate to bring his toxic agenda to Illinois, and in the first test of his political influence, he got his ass kicked. We'll see how that resonates with Republican legislators, especially those in districts with universities. One thing seems certain--there are a lot of angry voters in this state and there is little doubt who they blame for the current crisis.