Gov. Bruce Rauner’s chief of staff Mike Zolnierowicz is leaving the governor’s administration to serve as the Illinois Republican Party’s chief political strategist.
“[Zolnierowicz] is a tremendous leader and a great Chief of Staff. He has done an amazing job leading our team through some very difficult circumstances,” Gov. Rauner said in a statement. “I am grateful that he will remain a close ally and adviser. I look forward to continuing to work with [Zolnierowicz] in the months and years ahead.”
Zolnierowicz will now serve as a key force in the lead-up to November’s general election, as Republicans attempt to chip away at the Democratic supermajorities in both houses of the state’s General Assembly.
According to Capitol Fax, Zolnierowicz isn’t expected return to Rauner’s administration after the general election, but will instead move to Rauner’s reelection campaign.
Rich Goldberg, who served as Rauner’s deputy chief of staff for legislative affairs, will replace Zolnierowicz. Goldberg, who has recently participated in budget discussion between top lawmakers, has frequently battled with Democratic lawmakers throughout Rauner’s administration.
“No one will work harder to fix the State than Richard. He is extremely smart, loyal and relentless,” Rauner said. “Richard has my full support and trust. I know he will do a great job in his role.”
Director of the Department of the Lottery B.R. Lane also tendered her resignation Friday, citing a serious medical condition and complications from a recent surgery. Rauner has asked Deputy Director of Government Transformation & Metrics Tim McDevitt to serve as the department's acting director until a replacement is found.