Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass sat in on his newspaper’s interview of the two candidates running for Illinois governor in the Republican primary — incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner and conservative State Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) — and judged Ives the clear winner.
Rauner has avoided a debate with Ives — whom he leads by 44 points in early polls ahead of the March 20 primary, thanks to name recognition. But the Tribune provided a rare forum — and Kass said Ives “crushed” Rauner.
In a column titled, “Ives crushes Rauner in Tribune governor debate,” Kass wrote:
Rauner looked like a man who’d been whipped.
It was Rauner who invited the Republican primary challenge by signing a sanctuary state bill into law and by signing House Bill 40, which provides for taxpayer-funded abortions. Republican lawmakers and even Roman Catholic Cardinal Blase Cupich said he lied to them.
Ives had to demonstrate that despite the liberal spin, she is more a serious policy wonk than a social conservative warrior. She had to show she had the stuff to lead. She accomplished all of that.
“He’s picking on [Democratic Illinois House Speaker Michael] Madigan again because he said he is not in charge,” Ives said. “Gov. Rauner has said he’s not in charge. And he’s acted like he’s not in charge. And so this is the result. Nothing gets done. Now it is interesting that he wants to pretend this primary battle is about Mike Madigan, but the truth is, his base has left him.”
Kass concluded: “After this debate, I’d bet you’ll never see Rauner within a mile of Jeanne Ives. Not if he can help it, not if he wants to win the primary. He’s got the money to win. But she’s got something else. And he doesn’t want any part of it.”
Read Kass’s full column — with video of the Ives-Rauner exchange — here.
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.