Republican Sam McCann of Plainview announced Thursday that he will challenge incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic hopeful J.B. Pritzker. His running mate is Riverton resident Aaron Merreighn.
The 48-year-old McCann was elected to the state Senate in 2010. He says Rauner has "abandoned" core GOP values, especially with Rauner recently signing laws to expand public funding for abortions and limit law enforcement interactions with immigrants.
"Get ready, governor. Bring it on. I look forward to debating you and I look forward to talking about your failed governorship. The failure that you brought to Illinois. … The state is worse off than when you took office three and a half years ago. But I’m prepared to fix your mistakes."
Rauner is vulnerable with conservatives. Those same issues were the launching pad for a primary election challenge to Rauner by state Rep. Jeanne Ives of Wheaton. She came within three percentage points of defeating Rauner.
McCann and Merreighn must gather 25,000 valid signatures to make the ballot as Conservative Party candidates.
Rauner's campaign didn't wait long to attack Thursday.
“Sam McCann is the worst kind of political opportunist who is only running for Governor to line his own pockets," said campaign spokesperson Will Allison. "McCann’s unethical record speaks for itself: He failed to pay his taxes, racked up massive debts, lied about serving in the Marine Corps, and used his campaign account as a personal piggy bank, even buying himself an SUV.”
“Public service should not be for personal gain and Sam McCann's new ‘campaign’ is just a thinly veiled attempt to profit off of politics," Allison said.
The Illinois Republican Party didn’t leave Sam McCann. He left the Republican Party with his lockstep votes to support Mike Madigan’s agenda of unbalanced budgets and putting the interests of public sector unions ahead of Illinois taxpayers.
— Bill Brady (@Bill_Brady) April 19, 2018
Pritzker also issued a statement Thursday.
“I welcome another voice to the race for governor at this critical time for our state,” said Pritzker. “Bruce Rauner is a failed governor who has done untold damage to communities throughout Illinois, and people from across the political spectrum are ready for change."
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