Fifth Democrat Announces Bid to Topple Illinois Republican Governor Bruce Rauner

AP/Seth Perlman

A growing list of Democrat challengers have already announced campaigns to replace first-term Illinois Republican Governor Bruce Rauner, and now a fifth candidate has stepped forward.

State Senator Daniel Biss, a Democrat from a suburb north of Chicago, is entering the fray behind a long list of other candidates who have already announced their bid to take the state’s top job, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Biss, a first-time senator who also served as a state representative from 2011 to 2013, was trained as a mathematician who earned a degree from Harvard University and a doctorate of Mathematics at the Massachusetts of Technology. Previous to his political career, Biss was an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at the University of Chicago.

Despite being a trained mathematician, Bliss supports budget-busting government employee unions, advocates for jobs killing carbon emissions taxes, and is supportive of illegal aliens in a state with one of the worst budget crunches and jobs losses in the country He is also running as a typical liberal progressive.

Like most Democrats, Biss has been highly critical of Gov. Rauner’s budget plans. But last year the senator took his criticism even farther by leading a SuperPAC called Leading Illinois for Tomorrow that spent $10 million trying to tie Rauner to Donald Trump despite the fact that Rauner never announced any support for the President during the campaign for the White House.

Biss has been job hopping since entering the political arena going from state rep. to the Senate and then to an exploration for a run for state comptroller, a plan he dropped after finding himself unable to win the support of the state’s most powerful Democrat, Michael Madigan. Now he is entering the waters for governor.

Biss joins a list of announced Democrat candidates, some of whom have very deep pockets. One of the earliest Democrats to announce an assault on Rauner’s job was billionaire J.B. Pritzker who filed papers to run for governor this month. Pritzker also immediately supplied his staff with $200,000 of his own money to get the office up and running.

Another member of the one percent who threw his hat in the ring is a member of the famed Kennedy clan. In February, Christopher Kennedy, son of Senator and one-time U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy, also jumped into the fray saying that Go. Rauner’s budget plans are a “misdirection” meant to “privatize” state government.

Two lesser candidates, Chicago Northwest side Alderman Ameya Pawar of the 47th Ward, announced his run in January. Pawar, the son of Indian immigrants and the only Asian American on the Chicago City Council, is pushing higher taxes on Illinoisans.

Finally, in February, Madison County Regional Superintendent of Schools Bob Daiber announced his own bid for governor saying his main concern is to reach a compromise budget.

Republican Rauner has been stymied at every move to land a budget agreement in a state completely controlled by Democrats with a super majority in the legislature and every statewide office expect governor.

At the end of February, Gov. Rauner criticized Democrats of mounting a “coordinated” attack on him to shut down the state government in order to force him to abandon his “turn around” budget. Democrats have spent Rauner’s entire term alternately refusing to meet with him then giving lip service to meetings without ever intending to arrive at any agreements over a budget.

“This is clearly part of a coordinated activity, coordinated pattern between the attorney general, our comptroller and, frankly, our speaker, who coordinates it all, to create a crisis and shut down state government,” Rauner said on March 8.

Last year, Illinois lost more residents, jobs, and businesses than any other state in the nation, it was the third year in a row that the Land of Lincoln earned that dubious distinction.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at


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