The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

A Staunch Conservative Might Be Challenging Gov. Rauner In The Primary

By aaroncynic in News on Oct 30, 2017 8:47PM

Rep. Jeanne Ives, handout
A suburban House Representative announced over the weekend that she’s circulating petitions to potentially challenge Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner for the Republican primary.

“There is little trust between most Illinoisans and their government at many levels - and for good reasons,” Rep. Jeanne Ives said in a press release published by the Illinois Review. “Top political leaders have lied to the people about who they are and what they are going to do—and they continue to make promises we cannot keep. Public corruption is an everyday event across the state. Many Illinoisans have simply decided to leave for better opportunities elsewhere.”

While she did not make a formal announcement of her candidacy, Ives confirmed to multiple news outlets over the weekend that she’s circulating petitions, and wouldn’t make one until she secures the minimum of 5,000 signatures by Dec. 4.

“We are doing everything possible to get on the ballot,” Ives told the Chicago Tribune. “I would say nobody’s running until they’re on the ballot. We’ve got catch-up work to do here so we’ve got to put out the petitions and get the signatures. When we’ve got that done, we can officially announce.”

Ives has been mulling the idea of challenging Rauner in the primary since the governor signed HB40, a bill that guarantees that abortion will remain legal in Illinois should the Supreme Court overturn Roe V. Wade and expands abortion coverage for Medicaid recipients as well as state employees. Rauner, who has long said he supports a woman’s right to choose, flipped and said he would veto the bill, but later flopped and signed it, creating a firestorm of ire from hard line conservatives in Illinois.

In the wake of the decision, Ives was one of many Republicans to say they wouldn’t support Rauner in the coming gubernatorial election, for which he formally announced his candidacy last week via a video featuring him on a motorcycle.

“It's his decision whether or not to run,” Ives told Crain’s Chicago in September. “If he does, I hope we'd put up a primary opponent against him, because I won't be supporting him.” While she didn’t say explicitly she’d run at the time she hinted she was considering it, and said that Rauner was “politically done.”

“I don't see anybody in the Republican Party coming out in full strength which is what he would need for a reelection bid in 2018, and he's not going to get that,” she told ABC7.

Ives is a three-term Representative from Wheaton and a staunch right-wing conservative. In the past she’s received endorsements from the Illinois State Rifle Association’s Political Victory Fund, the Illinois Federation for Right to Life PAC, and has received high marks as a “true prairie state conservative” from the American Conservative Union.

In 2013, Ives called gay marriage a “disordered relationship,” and said that those pushing for the rights of gay people to marry were “trying to redefine society.” “They’re trying to weasel their way into acceptability so that they can then start to push their agenda down into the schools, because this gives them some sort of legitimacy,” she said in a radio interview. She later said that it was “unfortunate people misinterpreted” her remarks, which she said were not about gay people in general, but the issue of gay marriage.

In addition to sharing an op-ed from a group considered a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center that compared those supporting rights for transgender students to “dirty old men in trench coats lying in wait to expose children to sordid things,” she also once gave a speech on the House floor steeped in racist and classist rhetoric regarding child care subsidies.

"You need to have verifiable need,” Ives said in a Statehouse debate during the budget crisis in 2015. “You better know who the daddy is and whether or not he can afford that child and whether or not the taxpayers should be funding that or if there's actual child support he can provide."

Ives would have an uphill battle against Rauner, who already has more than $65 million in his campaign war chest, along with access to the kind of money most human beings will never see in their lifetimes. She told the Tribune however, that she was working on securing funding “every single day,” and while she wouldn’t discuss any financial committments from possible backers, said she was “heartened” by intitial contributions.

“Obviously that’s a big issue. To get your message out, you’ve got to have the money behind you,” said Ives. “Unless you can self-fund like the other billionaires in the race, (raising money is) an ongoing process for any candidate. We’re not intimidated by it either.”