These days, everybody wants somebody else to get out of the GOP primary race for governor.
In a four-man primary race, every candidate wishes there were a few less competitors. And, in the Illinois GOP primary, each of the three “non-Rauner” candidates—State Senators Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard, along with State Treasurer Dan Rutherford—have taken their turn claiming they are the only one who can challenge wealthy businessman and front-runner Bruce Rauner.
First, it was State Treasurer Dan Rutherford, whose supporters argued that since he was the only one who was able to raise enough money to counter wealthy businessman Bruce Rauner’s TV ad buys, it was really more of a two-man than a four-man race.
Of course, that was before Rutherford doubled down on the idea by claiming Rauner was behind a federal lawsuit charging Rutherford with sexual harassment of an employee.
Then, it was Kirk Dillard, who recently argued that he deserved a clear shot at the frontrunner, and everybody else should get out of the way:
Illinois state Sen. Kirk Dillard told Chicago radio station WLS last week that Republican county chairmen ought to try and get Bill Brady and/or Dan Rutherford out of the governor's race so he could have a clear shot at wealthy frontrunner Bruce Rauner.
Dillard claims he is building strong momentum with recent endorsements, including the powerful Illinois Education Association.
Of course, that was before it was shown that Dillard was losing his own district to Rauner:
But two polls taken last week showed that Dillard isn't even winning his own DuPage County-based state Senate district that he has represented for more than 20 years.
A Capitol Fax/We Ask America poll taken on Thursday had Rauner leading in Dillard's Senate district with 36 percent. Dillard placed a distant second with 30 percent.
Now comes Bill Brady, who is taking his turn to argue that the race is really about only him and the frontrunner:
GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady claims new poll results show the Republican primary is now a two-way race between himself and businessman Bruce Rauner.
"We think our support is growing and Bruce Rauner's support is waning, Senator Kirk Dillard's has capped off," Brady told reporters on a phone call Monday afternoon. Brady said his campaign planned to share their findings in the next few days. "Rauner's support is very superficial," he said.
On the press call, Brady fired at Dillard for his call for Rutherford and him to drop out of the race.
"Dillard's claim was completely off-base," Brady said. “Last week, Senator Dillard called on Republican officials to push Treasurer Rutherford and myself out of the race for him. He’s confused. This is a race between me and Mr. Rauner, not Mr. Rauner and Senator Dillard.”
Everybody in the race is struggling to make up ground against Rauner, whose seemingly bottomless pockets are placing the other candidates at a severe disadvantage.
With [his] latest move, Rauner has contributed more than $5 million of his own resources to his campaign for governor.
By contrast, Brady has taken in only $18,000 in donations since the start of the year and reported having $271,213 spread across two campaign funds as of December 31, state campaign records show.
One way to draw a distinction for yourself as a candidate in a four-man race is to say that’s it’s really a two-man race, and you are one of the two men still standing.
In the Republican race for governor, at least everybody’s now had their shot at making that argument.