The GOP touts Bruce Rauner as The Next Best Thing to rescue Illinois from fiscal doom. The media often touts Rand Paul as The Second Coming to rebrand and energize the party, saving it from its stodgy self.
Last week, Time christened Paul, the libertarian senator from Kentucky who might stage a run for president in 2016, as "The Most Interesting Man in Politics," following a slew of similar accolades in other mainstream media outlets including The New York Times Magazine and Politico. (Not among them: Mother Jones.)
But Rauner, the super-rich Republican candidate running a super-close race to dethrone Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, will apparently have nothing to do with Paul ahead of Nov. 4's election. At least not in public. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Rauner opted not to enlist the buzzy-yet-polarizing politician (and former eye doctor) for a campaign photo-op even though he was in town Monday to speak at an American Academy of Ophthalmology conference at McCormick Place.
Neither will he make an appearance alongside arch-conservative Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas tea partier, who's doing a fundraiser with the Chicago's Republican Party on Wednesday, reports the Sun-Times' Lynn Sweet.
Both Paul and Cruz are among the high-profile GOP names being bandied about as potential presidential candidates to face off against the likes of Hillary Clinton. Both are too risky, too extreme, to be seen with Rauner before Election Day, especially in Chicagoland, where the tea party is frowned upon and Democratic ideals run deep. Both are certainly aware that this city, home to some of the richest Republicans in the nation, boasts a deep reserve of donor cash in the event that, say, somebodywants to launch a bid for president. The money: That's why they're here.
And so Rauner is aligning himself with politicos who play better here in Chicago, like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and ex-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush—two other 2016 possibilities. (Interestingly, Rauner previously distanced himself from Christie following the George Washington Bridge scandal earlier this year. Now that's all ... water under the bridge.)
As early voting begins in Illinois, the Winnetka investor-turned-political rookie campaigns this week with stalwart state Republicans including Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka and Sen. Mark Kirk.
Quinn, meanwhile, is wrangling A-listers like: President Barack Obama, who headlined a packed-house rally at the South Side's Chicago State University on Sunday night; ex-President Bill Clinton, who gives a pro-Quinn, economy-themed speech on Tuesday at Wheatland Tube's Chicago branch; and Vice President Joe Biden, who's flying out for a Wednesday event in the northern 'burb of Vernon Hills, the scene of a battleground race between Democrat congressman Brad Schneider and GOP rival Bob Dold.