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Watch A Motorcycle-Riding Gov. Rauner Formally Announce His Reelection Bid

By aaroncynic in News on Oct 23, 2017 7:06PM

Rauner Biker Ad.jpg
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner in his campaign announcement video titled "I Choose to Fight."
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner made his bid for reelection formal on Monday with a two-minute campaign video titled “I choose to fight,” featuring him on his Harley.

"They said it couldn't be done," Rauner narrates as the video opens to gloomy stock footage of abandoned buildings, boarded up houses, Chicago traffic, the Capitol Building, and a sad looking child on a swing at a playground. “That it was crazy to think this place could be saved. That we should give up, give in, resign our hopes and dreams to a corrupt culture of permanent political failure. The Madigan machine is just too strong, they say."

After railing a little more about the ‘Madigan machine’ and accepting “corruption and stagnation,” the mood shifts to a more upbeat tone, with Rauner saying “we can't and we won't. This is Illinois. This is home.” The camera then cuts to footage of the governor on his motorcycle in his biker outfit, a vest glittering with pins and patches—including one that reads “Governor” on the chest—over a hooded sweatshirt that reads “Governor” on the sleeve, apparently to really drive the point home that Bruce Rauner is in fact, governor.

Rauner goes on to talk about how he “crisscrossed our state” with the promise to “fight business as usual,” listing off some of his “toughest fights” like property taxes, term limits, and the state budget.

“Now, we have a choice,” he says nearing the end of the video. “We can throw in the towel, walk away and leave our future to the same corrupt career politicians, or we can fight.” Rauner then rolls his motorcycle up to a crowd of people standing with their arms crossed, dramatically pulls off his sunglasses and says “I choose to fight.”

The ad is a departure from his earlier work this year (which were totally not actual campaign ads, but rather campaign-style ads) that featured him in a pristine tool shed playing with duct tape, a callback to his quirkier ads at the beginning of his run in 2014. Rauner, who’s been embattled with legislators for his entire term because they simply won’t make enough cuts to social services, is showing us that when a billionaire hedge fund manager swaps out his suit and tie or fresh Carhartt for a biker vest—he’s serious about fightin’ for reform.

Rauner’s critics took the ad as an opportunity to point to just how much of a fight the governor could be up against in the coming year.

Billionaire JB Pritzker’s campaign, who leads the pack among Rauner’s challengers in a new poll published by Capitol Fax, called him a “motorcycle riding failed governor” in a statement.

Bruce Rauner’s motorcycle must have taken a wrong turn if took him three years to ‘choose’ to fight for this state,” campaign manager Anne Caprara said in a statement emailed to Chicagoist.

“Let’s be clear: Rauner promised to shake up Springfield and after just one term, our state is truly shaken. Rauner forced Illinois into a record-long budget crisis, racked up a record-amount of bills, and is now at a record-low approval rating. I guess when he notes that ‘they said it couldn’t be done’ what he really means is the damage is already done. It's time for Rauner to go, and at least we know he already has his transportation.”

The Democratic Governor’s Association meanwhile, said that Rauner’s beginning his campaign as the “most vulnerable incumbent in the nation,” pointing to a July poll from the group that put his disapproval rating at 63 percent.

“With nearly two-thirds of Illinoisans agreeing that he is bad at his job, Bruce Rauner seems to be the only person who believes he deserves reelection,” said DGA Illinois Communications Director Sam Salustro in a press release. “No matter how many millions he spends, Rauner cannot escape the fact that Illinois is clearly worse off than it was before three years of his failed leadership.”