JB Pritzker

Illinois Gubernatorial Candidate Profile: Sam McCann

Republican State Sen. Sam McCann entered the race for governor in April under the Conservative Party label after initially mulling a GOP primary run against incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner, with whom he has long been at odds.

A union supporter, McCann voted in 2015 to override Rauner’s veto of a bill on union arbitration, bucking the governor’s anti-union position to align with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).

Rauner then targeted McCann in the 2016 GOP primary for the 50th Senate District, which includes a portion of Springfield and the area west to the Illinois border.

Rauner spent more than $3 million in an unsuccessful attempt to unseat McCann, who has represented the district since 2011. Like Rauner’s right-wing primary challenger state Rep. Jeanne Ives, McCann was also angered by Rauner’s signing of two measures on immigration and abortion. 

The first was to prevent law enforcement officials from detaining individuals based solely on their immigration status – which some said effectively turned Illinois into a “sanctuary state,” and the second was a bill that allows the state to cover abortions for its employees and Medicaid recipients, and will also ensure that abortion remains legal in Illinois should the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision be overturned.

Billing himself as the only conservative in the race, McCann says on his website that he will work to overturn both laws, “push for protections that preserve our religious beliefs from being attacked by leftist values” and “work with President Trump to secure the sovereignty of our borders.”

As of the most recent reporting period ending June 30, McCann had $73,251 in his campaign coffers. He garnered 4 percent support in an August NBC News/Marist poll.

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