BLOOMINGTON — State Rep. Jeanne Ives thinks she has Gov. Bruce Rauner "in hiding" in advance of Tuesday's GOP primary.
"He's really not answering questions from anybody, and he's not answering questions from ordinary Republicans. He's pretty much setting up closed-door meetings with his favorite Republicans, and not talking to the broader audience of even Republicans," she told The Pantagraph during a campaign stop Friday in Bloomington. "I'm an open book. Primary voters know who I am."
The Wheaton lawmaker, who also met with supporters at the law offices of Stivers and Gramm in Bloomington, said she has momentum in the race's final days and still is getting her message out to unseat the first-term incumbent from Winnetka.
Her campaign said an internal poll this week has her trailing the governor 42 percent to 35 percent among likely Republican primary voters, though they haven't released details despite WLS, a Chicago TV station, reporting that Rauner called the poll "bogus."
"Turnout appears to be a little bit lower, at least in the early voting stages," said Ives. "We know historically that motivated voters show up (when turnout is low). ... Our voters are motivated."
Ives also pointed to a gun dealer licensing bill Rauner vetoed this week as a sign he's worried about losing Republican voters. Ives voted against the bill, which Rauner could have waited until after the primary to sign or veto.
She also voted against two other bills intended to make it more difficult for residents to buy assault weapons, though she supported a ban on bump stocks, which help semi-automatic weapons fire like automatic weapons.
"They're arbitrary and they're not going to solve anything. All you're doing is putting additional laws on law-abiding citizens," Ives said. "It's not solving the Parkland (shooting causes), either, because none of these bills dealt with mental health, and none of them dealt with government accountability."
Ives said she looks forward to continuing to work on legislation as a representative for the remaining months of her term if she's defeated Tuesday. If she wins, she's confident she'll find the money to mount a general election campaign despite a meager campaign fund compared to Rauner or Democratic front-runner J.B. Pritzker.
"We'll have to go out and seek some more donations," she said. "We have no doubt that the resources will be there to compete in the general."
Ives said she has no preference in the Democratic primary, saying none of the top candidates has been strong enough in opposition to House Speaker Mike Madigan of Chicago, who also is chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party and a frequent Rauner target.
Ives said she's also not worried about Democratic Governors Association TV ads that say she's too conservative for the state due to her anti-abortion, pro-gun and anti-immigration stances.