The Chicago Tribune and Crain's Chicago Business have endorsed Republican investor Bruce Rauner for governor over Democratic incumbent Pat Quinn.
Pro-business and anti-term limits, Rauner is a veteran venture capitalist/political rookie campaigning on a vow to "shake up Springfield" and run the capitol like an efficiently run corporation—an agenda that resonates among the papers' editorial boards and certainly many of their readers.
"Gov. Pat Quinn has had six years to lead the people of Illinois out of this morass," says the conservative-leaning Trib, listing off the cash-strapped state's fiscal woes. "He has tried. He stalled legislators' pay until they passed state retirement reforms. He signed several pension fixes into law. He closed several costly state facilities. But despite Quinn's efforts, the nearly 13 million citizens of this state remain mired in a slow-mo economy that grows too few jobs — an intolerable status quo unlike the robust Illinois they remember."
Declares the paper: "Quinn's obsessive attacks on a man who can afford several homes may be a deft way to change the political debate, but the crucial issue on Nov. 4 is that in today's Illinois — with so many jobs going to Texas and other hiring-friendly states — many families here can't afford one house. All of us should focus on that."
Meanwhile, Crain's touts Rauner as "the best candidate to pull the Illinois economy out of its low-growth rut. For that reason, above others, he earns our endorsement for governor."
"Mr. Rauner's experience as a private-equity investor would benefit Springfield," says the biz trade. "Government isn't the same as business, of course. As head of the state's executive branch, the governor wields real power, but it's less than that of a chief executive. Still, Mr. Rauner would bring the much-needed perspective of a private-sector leader. And he has a sharp eye for efficiency, something that bloated state government desperately needs. He is no politician, and that is a good thing."
Rauner, locked in a contentious toss-up battle with Quinn, was previously endorsed by Crain's and the conservative-leaning Chicago Tribune in March's GOP primary.