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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With three days until the first debate, the polls are coming fast and furious. The latest round:
- An Associated Press/Gfk poll of registered voters found very few voters committed, with Clinton leading Trump, 37% to 29%, and Gary Johnson at 7%.
- A McClatchy-Marist poll gave Clinton a six-point edge, 45% to 39%, in a four-way ballot test. Johnson pulls 10% support, with Jill Stein at 4%.
- Rasmussen, which has drawn criticism for continually showing Donald Trump doing much better than he does in other polls, is at it again. A new survey gives Trump a five-point lead, 44%-39%.
In contrast to Hillary Clinton's meticulous debate practice sessions, Donald Trump "is largely shunning traditional debate preparations, but has been watching video of…Clinton’s best and worst debate moments, looking for her vulnerabilities.” Trump “has paid only cursory attention to briefing materials. He has refused to use lecterns in mock debate sessions despite the urging of his advisers. He prefers spitballing ideas with his team rather than honing them into crisp, two-minute answers.”
Donald Trump "is on the precipice of becoming the only major-party presidential candidate this century not to reach out to millions of American voters whose dominant, first or just preferred language is Spanish. Trump has not only failed to buy any Spanish-language television or radio ads, he so far has avoided even offering a translation of his website into Spanish, breaking with two decades of bipartisan tradition."
Bill and Hillary Clinton have purchased the home next door to their primary residence in tony Chappaqua, New York, for $1.16 million. "By purchasing the new home, the Clinton's now own the entire cul-de-sac at the end of the road in the leafy New York suburb. The purchase makes it easier for the United States Secret Service to protect the former president and possible future commander in chief."