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Election update for Governor race

Three Democrats lead their race, Rauner may face challenger


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The race for Illinois’ governor doesn’t start until next year, but that isn’t stopping a variety of candidates from building their support now.

Currently, the candidates are building their campaign war chests and seeking signatures, so they may appear on the ballot. Currently, the two major parties in the state are the Democrats and the Republicans.

Crowded Democratic field

Despite seven declared candidates, analysts have looked to the three candidates leading the race so far, Chris Kennedy, State Sen. Daniel Biss, and J.B. Pritzker.

Kennedy, son of former Democratic Senator Robert Kennedy, has so far campaigned on reforming Illinois Property Taxes to fight against “insider abuse,” as many legislators, such as House Speaker Michael Madigan, run law firms focusing on navigating the state’s property tax system.

Biss, who represents Evanston, has been labeled by some as the leading progressive candidate, but has alienated some voted due to his original pick, socialist Chicago Alderman Carlos Ramierez-Rosa, who was found to support Israel’s Boycott movement “Boycott Disinvestment Sanctions.” 

With Israeli family, Biss quickly switched Rosa with State Representative Litesa Wallace. The move may have potentially alienated pro-Israel voters and some more hard-left progressives.

“The kerfuffle involved with picking and then dropping Chicago Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa as a running mate soured many,” said Jeff Searns, a spokesman for the Sangamon County Democratic Socialists of America. “As for the other candidates, the Sangamon DSA doesn’t wish to perpetuate billionaires buying elections nor candidates from bygone political dynasties.”

Billionaire businessman J.B. Pritzker remains an apparent front runner due to his massive war chest, already spending $11 million, largely his own money, on advertising and other campaign expenditures.

One such ad published on Oct. 20 has been going around on YouTube, featuring women holding signs lambasting the political culture surrounding President Donald Trump. Other ads focus on Obama-era policies attempting to link Pritzker to them.

A few candidates have already dropped out, such as progressive Chicago Alderman Ameya Pewar and State Rep. Scott Drury, who met with the UIS Democrats earlier in the Fall semester. Drury is now running for attorney general.

Unsafe Republican incumbent

Bruce Rauner, the sitting governor, only had a fringe perennial candidate going against him in the primary. 

However, a little less than a week after his own formal announcement to seek reelection, Illinois Representative Jeanne Ives of Wheaton began her own bid to run.

The conservative lawmaker has cited several of Rauner’s policies, particularly a recent law signed by the governor to ensure abortion rights in Illinois, as well as expand coverage for the procedure through Medicaid dollars.

On UIS, the campus Republicans have pulled their weight behind the incumbent governor.

“We are fully behind the Reelection campaign of Gov. Rauner. We are excited to help him stay in the governor’s office for the next 4 years, ” said Jesse Johnson, president of the UIS College of Republicans. “The UIS college republicans encourage everyone to register to vote here in Illinois. There is nothing more important than having your voice be heard. Illinois is worth fighting for. ”

Meanwhile, Rauner’s announcement came in the form of an ad with him traveling around on a motorcycle, promoting his record fighting state employee unions, and fighting for more conservative economic policies. He also doubled down on term limits for state representatives.

The Election

The Primary for state and federal races start on March 20, 2018. U.S. Citizens interesting in participating must register either at an Illinois DMV or the state board of election after proving residency in the state for 30 days. 

However, out of state students will forfeit voting in their home state races, should they register in Illinois.

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Election update for Governor race