It’s rare for incumbents of elected offices to face primary challenges from someone in their own party.
Especially in races for president and governor.
Senator Ted Kennedy’s primary challenge of President Jimmy Carter in 1980 divided the Democratic Party and sent Ronald Reagan to an easy victory for the White House.
It’s happening in Illinois with the challenge mounted by state representative Jeanne Ives against incumbent governor Bruce Rauner.
She is a longshot to win the primary in March.
Take a look at the financial mismatch alone.
Rauner had more than $65.5 million in his campaign account at the end of September.
Ives only started reported her fundraising in November. Those reports total only $278,000 so far by comparison.
Ives was born and raised in South Dakota.
She went on to graduate from West Point with a degree in economics, then served in the Army, where she was a platoon leader and transportation commander.
Ives served on the Wheaton City Council and was elected to the Illinois State House in 2012. Her committee assignments include appropriations for education, cities and villages as well as labor and commerce, to name a few.
4 The Record sat down with Representative Ives a little more than a week ago and asked her about the challenges facing her campaign.
“We’re not there yet, but we have people around the state collecting those signatures,” Ives said when asked about the status of the petitions needed to get on the ballot. “We’re collecting those right now.”
Ives can’t compete financially with Rauner in the primary.
“We don’t need to compete financially with Bruce Rauner,” Ives said. “When you show up to do your vote, they don’t ask you what’s in your checkbook before you vote. The truth is I have a lot of Republicans, primary voters, activists, grassroots people who are fed up with government statewide. They’re gonna come out and vote for Jeanne Ives for governor. … If money was the scoreboard in politics, then we might as well just anoint the guy with the best balance sheet.”
Ives also addressed people who think she’s weakening the party’s chances to win next November if Rauner wins the nomination as expected.
“People are rejecting him universally,” Ives said. “Even core Republicans say they will not vote for this guy who betrayed our party and our values and actually made things worse in the State of Illinois.”
Ives agrees with the governor on issues like pension reform, term limits and lower property taxes. These are traditional Republican issues.
Her big differences with him are on social issues. Ives’ criticism of the governor’s signing of HB40 is well documented. That’s the law that expands taxpayer funded abortions in Illinois.
It seems that’s the issue that prompted you to join the race. Rauner won, in part, by being able to appeal to moderates.
Ives talked about how she expected to win the governor’s race and get the moderate voters that would take.
“Let’s face it, Rauner’s been a disaster statewide on almost every issue, from bailing out multi-billion dollar public utility companies to using taxpayer money statewide to bail out corrupt and mismanaged Chicago Public Schools,” Ives said. “And the man who said he had no social agenda, ended up only having only a social agenda. … The property tax burden is probably the No. 1 thing that resonates with everybody.”
Watch the full interview in the video above.
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