Hannah Meisel

  With summer coming to an end, and the November election getting ever closer, Gov. Pat Quinn and other Illinois Democrats gathered Wednesday in Springfield, for an annual party meeting and rally. But Thursday, Republicans had their day. The GOP hopes it'll be their year.

There's no "normal" way to get to the area on the Illinois State Fairgrounds where Republicans had their gathering.

Amanda Vinicky

The four men seeking the Republican nomination for governor met in a debate Tuesday (2/18) night in Springfield, the last time they're scheduled to appear together downstate before next month's primary election.

With political newcomer Bruce Rauner leading in the polls and in fundraising, debates are a chance for the three other candidates to talk directly to voters, free of charge.

Bruce Rauner
Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

  Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner continues to rake in major contributions since he lifted Illinois' new campaign finance cap last week. While Rauner's opponents are freed from caps as well, he's the been the only one to get such major, and immediate, benefit.

State filings from yesterday (11/21) afternoon show Illinois' richest man, Ken Griffin, pitching in $250,000 to Rauner's campaign.

It's the second time this week Rauner received a donation worth a quarter of a million dollars.

Amanda Vinicky

Venture capitalist Bruce Rauner is drumming up his campaign for governor with a second campaign. Rauner, a Republican, is trying to get a question on the 2014 ballot that could lead to major changes in state government.   He says he'll donate a sizable portion of his personal fortune into the effort.   Statehouse Bureau Chief Amanda Vinicky spoke about it with him at length in the following interview:

Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

 A year-and-a-half after his stroke, U.S. Senator Mark Kirk returned to central Illinois for the first time this week.  Members of his party gave him a warm welcome at a Republican rally Thursday at the Illinois State Fair. 

Senator Kirk made his way slowly across the stage, aided by a cane. It has been a long, slow, partial recovery since his stroke last January.

WUIS/Illinois Issues

After nearly seven years of total Democratic rule in Illinois, voters can easily tally the results — an indicted governor who allegedly sold out the state to the highest bidders, a big push for a major income tax hike and a budget so far in the red that contractors routinely get stiffed. 

That is why Republicans believe they can finally run a winning statewide race. 

But not so fast. 

Hot Property: The Republicans

Jan 1, 2002
Mike Cramer

There are seven major bids on the 
Executive Mansion this election season
This month, Illinois Issues provides information
on the race for governor.

In the rest of this issue, we examine the primary races for attorney general and the U.S. Senate. (This issue went to press before the December 24th deadline to challenge candidates’ petitions.)

Next month, we’ll look at the primary campaigns for the legislature and Congress.


The Republicans

Senator Peter Fitzgerald
Lauren Shay

This first Thursday in February is a busy one for Peter Fitzgerald, the junior senator from Illinois. He's in Washington and in a few hours the U.S. Senate will hold John Ashcroft's confirmation vote for attorney general. It's Fitzgerald's turn to preside every Thursday afternoon, so, by chance, he will be wielding the gavel during the actual roll call on President George W. Bush's most controversial nomination. Fitzgerald's bit role in history will be noted in a press release his office will dispatch by nightfall.