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Wealthy Dilettante Bruce Rauner Could Get Elected to the Senate

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Wealthy Dilettante Bruce Rauner Could Get Elected to the Senate

Earlier this week, I laid out how tough it will be for millionaire financier Bruce Rauner to get elected governor. Rauner is a political novice, and in the last hundred years, every Illinois governor has held an elective or appointive office before running the state. However, Rauner might have an easier time getting into the Senate. There is a precedent for a wealthy dilettante going straight from private industry to high office: Charles Percy, the Bell & Howell executive elected in 1966. Significantly, Percy ran for the Senate after losing a race for governor. And he defeated a popular liberal Democrat seeking a fourth term in the sixth year of a Democratic presidency -- the same scenario Rauner would face against Dick Durbin next year.

Here’s a list of our U.S. senators from the last 100 years, and the offices they held before becoming senators:
Mark Kirk: U.S. representative
Roland Burris: comptroller, attorney general
Barack Obama: state senator
Peter Fitzgerald: state senator
Dick Durbin: U.S. representative
Carol Moseley Braun: state representative, Cook County Recorder of Deeds
Paul Simon: state representative, state senator, lieutenant governor, U.S. representative
Alan Dixon: state representative, state senator, treasurer, secretary of state
Adlai Stevenson III: state representative, treasurer
Ralph Tyler Smith: state representative
Charles Percy: None
Everett Dirksen: U.S. representative
Paul Douglas: Chicago alderman
Charles Wayland Brooks: None
James M. Slattery: chairman, Illinois Commerce Commission
Scott W. Lucas: chairman of the state tax commission, U.S. representative
William H. Dieterich: Schuyler county judge, state representative, U.S. representative
J. Hamilton Lewis: U.S. representative
Charles S. Deneen: state representative
William B. McKinley: University of Illinois trustee, U.S. representative
Joseph Medill McCormick: state representative, U.S. representative
Lawrence Y. Sherman: state representative, lieutenant governor

Related Topics Rauner, Chicago, Senate
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