That was good news for Dillard who said if he wins the GOP primary, his chances are better against someone other than Lisa Madigan, the Democrat who announced she would not run for governor but instead seek a third term as Illinois attorney general.
"Personally, I'm glad she's not going to be my opponent in the general election," Dillard said.
Dillard has been a state senator for nearly 16 years. He also has worked as chief of staff to former Gov. Jim Edgar and as legislative director for former Gov. Jim Thompson.
Dillard kicked off his campaign by blasting the Democrats who control state government for not fixing the state's budget mess and not doing enough to reform a government rocked by the scandals surrounding former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
"The Democrats who control the governor's office, the General Assembly and every single statewide office let the taxpayers of this state down one more time," Dillard said.
The state is now a week into the new fiscal year without a spending plan and facing a massive deficit. Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat, wants to raise the state income tax to come up with more money but has not had enough support among lawmakers. Dillard voted against an income tax increase passed by the Democrat-controlled Illinois Senate.
"I'm going to put the taxpayer first," he yelled at a rally of a couple hundred people.
The Republican primary for governor is shaping up to be crowded one with about a half dozen people either declared or considering a run, including state Sens. Bill Brady and Matt Murphy. There's also DuPage County Board Chairman Bob Schillerstrom, political commentator Dan Proft and political unknown Adam Andrzejewski.