Bruce Rauner has emerged as the heavy favorite to win this month’s Republican gubernatorial primary, and polling shows him running evenly with Gov. Pat Quinn (D) in a solidly Democratic state. It’s setting up for one of the cycle’s most intriguing gubernatorial contests in President Obama’s old backyard.
— Rauner is a first time candidate, but his success at winning over top donors and conservatives alike prove he’s capable of running a sophisticated campaign. His rhetoric against “government union bosses” in Springfield has spurred comparisons to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, prompting labor to mobilize on Quinn’s behalf. Illinois will be one of many Midwestern gubernatorial battlegrounds where the clout of unions will be tested.
— Quinn lost 98 of the state’s 102 counties in 2010 but his victory margins were significant enough in Cook County to offset deep losses everywhere else. Rauner’s task is to chip away at Quinn’s firewall of support by winning just enough Democrats and independents here to win statewide. The X-factor: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. He’s close friends with Rauner and has a frosty relationship with Quinn.
— Former Emanuel adviser Tom Bowen predicted the race will be a “barnburner” with Rauner’s money allowing him to make inroads around Chicago, where Republicans have struggled recently. Rauner’s socially-moderate, fiscally-conservative positioning should play well in the suburbs, but Democrats will work to portray him as the second coming of Mitt Romney.
A Quinn loss would be the second home-state setback for the White House, after Democrats lost the president’s Senate seat to Mark Kirk in the 2010 midterms. Already facing a tough midterm landscape, Obama could see his home-state governorship fall to Republicans — to a friend of his former chief of staff, no less.
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"Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence officer who wrote the explosive dossier alleging ties between Donald Trump and Russia," says in a new book by The Guardian's Luke Harding that "Trump's land and hotel deals with Russians needed to be examined. ... Steele did not go into further detail, Harding said, but seemed to be referring to a 2008 home sale to the Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev. Richard Dearlove, who headed the UK foreign-intelligence unit MI6 between 1999 and 2004, said in April that Trump borrowed money from Russia for his business during the 2008 financial crisis."
"The British publicist who helped set up the fateful meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a group of Russians at Trump Tower in June 2016 is ready to meet with Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller's office, according to several people familiar with the matter. Rob Goldstone has been living in Bangkok, Thailand, but has been communicating with Mueller's office through his lawyer, said a source close to Goldstone."
"Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak said on Wednesday that it would take him more than 20 minutes to name all of the Trump officials he's met with or spoken to on the phone. ... Kislyak made the remarks in a sprawling interview with Russia-1, a popular state-owned Russian television channel."