BLOOMINGTON — State Rep. Jeanne Ives believes that, one way or another, Gov. Bruce Rauner will not hold that job next year.
“If Rauner is (the Republican) nominee, he will not win. He will be Mark Kirk-ed out of office,” said Ives, referring to the centrist Republican U.S. senator who lost his seat in 2016. “It’s outrageous this guy should get a second term. ... Conservatives do not appreciate people that betray our values.”
Ives wants to prevent a Rauner loss Nov. 6 by defeating him March 20, when she and the governor will face off in the Republican primary.
The Wheaton Republican told The Pantagraph she's not intimidated by Rauner's incumbency, money and name recognition, often saying she "will win this argument with the people.”
As of Jan. 17, the governor, a Winnetka businessman who said last year his assets are close to $1 billion, had $55.6 million in his campaign account, versus $662,000 for Ives, according to Associated Press reports.
"When people know who I am and understand Rauner’s betrayals, they come to my side," said Ives. "We don’t need $70 million to tell people we’re somebody we’re not.”
Ives, a five-year state representative and former city council member, said she aims to not only "deliver the conservative reform agenda (Rauner) promised he would" but also to bring conservative social views as well.
She hopes to win voters who were upset that Rauner backed abortions funded by state employee health insurance and Medicaid and making Illinois a "sanctuary state" that bars cooperation between police and federal immigration officials.
Ives also blamed Rauner for last year's income tax hike — saying he didn't build relationships necessary to keep Republican legislators from voting for it as part of a new budget after a two-year impasse — and wants aggressive cuts, including consolidating school districts and changing employee pensions.
Her pension plan includes a constitutional amendment removing a requirement that state employee pensions not be diminished and putting new employees into 401(k) programs rather than pensions.
Rauner has also attempted to consolidate units of government and overhaul pensions but has been stymied by the Illinois Supreme Court and Democratic legislators, including House Speaker Mike Madigan of Chicago.
Despite a conservative platform, Ives is confident she could beat a Democrat in the general election. State Sen. Daniel Biss, school Superintendent Bob Daiber, activist Tio Hardiman, businessman Chris Kennedy, physician Robert Marshall and Hyatt hotel chain heir J.B. Pritzker are vying for that nomination.
“We know we can win in November against any Democrat. Nobody’s buying the higher taxes and spending and cronyism that’s part and parcel of any Democrat,” Ives said.