ROCK FALLS – Four prospective gubernatorial candidates made appearances Friday evening at the Whiteside County Republican Lincoln Day Dinner, and three of them spoke.
There was a consensus on one item: they want to see a Republican governor in Illinois.
While none of them have officially announced their intentions, state Sens. Kirk Dillard, R-Hinsdale, and Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, who squared off in the last Republican primary, are set to run against each other again.
That primary could include state Treasurer Dan Rutherford and venture capitalist Bruce Rauner, who were also in attendance at Friday’s dinner at the Days Inn in Rock Falls.
Rauner spoke about bringing a results-oriented attitude to the office of governor and fighting to keep and recruit large employers.
Brady, who bested Dillard in the 2010 primary, but not Pat Quinn for the governor’s seat, said he wanted to finish the job he started, citing advice he received from former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Brady lost to Quinn by about 30,000 votes.
“He told me he wouldn’t have won the second time, if he didn’t lose the first,” Brady said. “The attack ads stick more when you are not that well known, and that influences the undecided voters.”
Brady added he had the business experience to make the most of Illinois’ resources.
Dillard, who lost to Brady in the primary by only 193 votes, said he had the chops to win a general election – having both suburban and downstate ties – and the ability to work with what will likely be a Democratic majority in the General Assembly.
“When I worked as Gov. Jim Edgar’s chief of staff, we turned a $1 billion deficit into a $1.5 billion surplus, all without an income tax increase,” Dillard said.
Not only were the gubernatorial candidates featured, but Rachel Crandall was named Whiteside County Republican of the Year, and Doug Crandall was given the Whiteside County Republican Volunteer of the Year award.
Rachel was given the award for organizing the Whiteside County Republican Women’s group, while Doug was honored for the countless hours of volunteering he gave the party, county chairwoman Jerri Robinson said.
Sen. Tim Bivins, R-Dixon, who pointed out he is one of only 19 Republicans in the 59-seat Senate, said Republicans have to continue working hard to make an impact, even though they are in the minority.