Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Illinois GOP Leader Tim Schneider: 'We're Going to Win in November'

The newly minted Republican chairman vows to put Rauner in the governor's seat

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    NEWSLETTERS

    If Tim Schneider has his way, Bruce Rauner will be Illinois governor in 2015.

    The state's newly crowned Republican Party Chairman -- a self-described "social moderate and fiscal conservative" -- vows to raise around $3 million to help private-equity businessman Rauner defeat Democrat incumbent Pat Quinn in Nov. 4's gubernatorial election.

    "We have the third-highest unemployment rate in the country," Schneider tells Crain's Chicago Business. "Company CEOs say we're the third-worst place in the nation to do business. We're ready to take over the governor's mansion in November and win races top to bottom statewide."

    When pressed for his stance on social issues, such as same-sex marriage, Schneider turns the conversation to his No. 1 priorities: Rauner, the economy and establishing term limits for lawmakers.

    "We're a big-tent issue. There's certainly room for disagreement," he says. "But we're going to win in November because we're united around core (economic) issues ... and term limits. Those are the issues that unite the Republican Party."

    He does, however, acknowledge the bipartisan bill -- backed by Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin -- to improve the pathway for immigrants to become U.S. citizens, saying Washington should pass "comprehensive immigration reform." (As Ward Room previously reported, Rauner supporter Michael Polsky is throwing a re-election fundraiser for Democratic Durbin on Thursday. President Obama will be there. What a tangled web they weave!).

    Thanks to Rauner's support, the Schneider, 58, was elected state GOP chairman by unanimous vote on Saturday. He replaces Jack Dorgan, who was pushed out of the gig and into a new role as co-chairman of finance committee for the Rauner campaign.

    He'll continue to serve as a Cook County commissioner for the Northwest 'burbs, where he owns a golf course and car wash.

    He is also very, very tan, though he could never out-orange John Boehner. Not by a long shot.