DAN RUTHERFORD, 7-5: The only Democrat who could have beaten Rutherford in a general election has dropped out of the race. His number one opponent is now Bruce Rauner’s money. Rutherford has experience on his side: four state treasurers have been elected governor, more than any other constitutional office.
PAT QUINN, 2-1: Quinn’s path to victory: beating Bill Daley, and hoping the Republicans nominate a right winger. The former is likely. The latter is certainly possible. Today’s Republican Party prefers ideological purity to electability. In the last month, Quinn has been reverting to populist grandstanding campaign mode. He could have gotten a more limited amendatory veto past the General Assembly, but he included measure that legislators had previously rejected, such as limiting gun owners to carrying one ammo clip. His veto failed, but he can say he stood up to the NRA. Quinn also announced he was cancelling legislators’ salaries until they pass a pension reform. That’s unconstitutional, but attacking politicians plays well with voters -- even if you’re a politician yourself. None of this was good governing, but it may impress liberal voters in a Democratic primary. Quinn has been a significant figure in Illinois politics for 35 years. The guy knows how to survive.
BRUCE RAUNER, 4-1: Has no political experience, which would be a first for an Illinois governor, but has enough money to turn himself into a household name in Illinois. Also, hates unions, which puts him in the mainstream of the Illinois GOP.
KIRK DILLARD, 10-1: Dillard is highly regarded by his colleagues, but good legislators don’t necessarily make good governors. Plus, his campaign has such a 19th Century and 20th Century air to it. On his campaign announcement day, he appeared outside the Decatur home of Gov. Richard Oglesby -- an ancestor of his wife -- alongside Gov. Jim Edgar, whom he served as chief of staff in the 1990s. (Dillard’s announcement that he’s running was overwhelmed by Madigan’s announcement that she’s not.) Dillard, an opponent of gay marriage, will be helped if the bill passes next year, taking it off the table as a campaign issue. Promising to veto gay marriage won’t win him any votes he’s not getting already.
BILL DALEY, 15-1: Daley’s best hope was as the third choice in a race between Quinn and Madigan. Now, he has to beat an incumbent governor in a primary all by himself. That hasn’t been done since 1976, when Richard J. Daley put up Secretary of State Michael Howlett against Gov. Dan Walker. Bill doesn’t have his dad’s machine. And Howlett lost the general election to Jim Thompson.
BILL BRADY, 20-1: Had his chance. Blew it. Won’t have a lot of moderate northern Illinois Republicans splitting the vote this time.
UNNAMED SOUTHERN ILLINOIS DEMOCRAT, 50-1: State Rep. Brandon Phelps is so upset about Quinn’s disrespect for gun owners that he’s threatening to find a fellow Egyptian to run against the governor. He didn’t offer any names, though. Glenn Poshard, the last Southern Illinois Democrat to run for governor, lost because of his conservative positions on guns and gay rights.