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Illinois’ Republican Governor Bruce Rauner Is 2nd-Most-Unpopular Running for Re-election

In this Nov. 16, 2016 file photo, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner speaks to reporters in Springfield, Ill. The temporary Illinois budget plan agreed to last summer expires with the new year. Republican Gov. Rauner and Democrats who control the General Assembly have hardly talked about how to replace it. Elementary …
AP/Seth Perlman

Incumbent Republican Governor Bruce Rauner is the second-most-unpopular governor in the U.S. among those actually running for re-election, according to the Morning Consult Governor Approval Rankings, released Thursday.

Rauner has a net approval rating of -24%, with 55% of registered voters in Illinois disapproving of his performance in office. The only governor who is doing worse than Rauner is Alaska’s Bill Walker, who is a political independent.

Of the 19 governors running for re-election, ten enjoy positive net approval ratings, meaning Rauner’s poor showing is unusually bad. The ratings were “based on surveys with 253,393 registered voters nationwide conducted online from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31,” according to Morning Consult.

The nation’s most popular governor up for re-election is Republican Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, who has a +54% net approval rating.

Rauner faces a primary challenge from conservative State Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton), who trailed him by 44% in a January poll but who is making waves in Illinois, and who turned in a strong performance in a “debate” at the Chicago Tribune editorial board on Monday. (Tribune columnist John Kass wrote that Ives “crushed” Rauner.)

On the Democratic side, the race is “wide open,” according to Greg Hinz of Crain’s Chicago Business. The frontrunner is billionaire J.B. Pritzker, a relative neophyte who enjoys the favor of the state’s Democratic Party establishment. Far-left State Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) has surged into second place despite an early fiasco when his running mate turned out to be an anti-Israel activist. Chris Kennedy, a son of the late Democratic hero Robert F. Kennedy, is now in third place among Democrats.

Ives is considered a long shot, but could win the primary, and would contrast sharply with any of the Democratic candidates. The primary for both parties is Mar. 20.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named to Forward’s 50 “most influential” Jews in 2017. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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