By TJ Brown -
Who is best to solve Illinois’ myriad woes as next Illinois Governor? North suburban Republicans got a taste Sunday night at Allgauer’s in Northbrook at the New Trier Republican Organization’s (NTRO) 75th Annual Fall Dinner.
This year, NTRO hosted the four gubernatorial candidates who are running in the primary for the right to challenge incumbent Pat Quinn next November.
“I wake up every morning and can’t believe that Pat Quinn is Governor of Illinois,” NTRO committeeman Bill Cadigan said during his remarks, maintaining that dinner guests heard from the state’s next governor. “He’s the accidental governor. He is every bit as incompetent as Rod Blagojevich (Quinn’s two-time running mate) is corrupt.”
Each of the candidates was given 15 minutes to make the case as to why he was the man to lead the state.
State Treasurer Dan Rutherford opted to make brief remarks after working the room during the reception. Rutherford has been no stranger to any Republican group in the state, aggressively working for Mitt Romney two years after winning his statewide race for Treasurer. Rutherford focused on his electability, as he earned more votes for Treasurer than Quinn picked up as Governor.
Winnetka resident and businessman Bruce Rauner described himself as the only candidate in the race who owes no special interest group anything in the election. He suggested that his tenure in Springfield would be modeled after that of Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indian. He also introduced his running mate, Wheaton Trustee Evelyn Sanguinetti, a daughter of Ecuadorian and Cuban immigrants. Sanguinetti said she believes in Rauner’s vision for the state and shares his passion for education reform.
State Sen. Kirk Dillard (Hinsdale) said his time in Springfield has been marked by him saying no to people like House Speaker Michael Madigan, Senate Majority Leader John Cullerton and Govs. Quinn and Blagojevich. Dillard proudly trumpets his work as Gov. Jim Edgar’s chief of staff, in which the state built up a surplus, did not raise income taxes and saw its credit rating increase.
State Sen. Bill Brady (Bloomington) said that as the 2010 nominee, he learned quite a bit through the experience of running the first time. He repeated a phrase that emcee Dan Proft raised, that the Republican party needs to continue to display “moral clarity” on the issues.
Also speaking was Doug Truax of Downers Grove, a West Point graduate who ascended to rank of Captain in the Army before joining the private sector and starting his own business, which focuses on employee benefits. As a result of his work, Truax said he has anticipated the problems the Affordable Care Act has caused and expects more problems for working families.
The event featured several candidates and elected officials, including former 10th District Rep. Bob Dold, who is running to regain his seat; Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, who is running for re-election; House Minority Leader Tom Cross, a candidate for State Treasurer; Bob Grogan of Downers Grove, also running for Treasurer; current Cook County Board of Review Commissioner Dan Patlak; candidate for 17th District State Representative Kathy Myalls; Metropolitan Water Reclamation District candidate Herb Schumann; candidates for judge James Pieczonka and Jim Marcus; New Trier Township Clerk Jerome Hoynes; New Trier Township Trustees Jan Gargula and Hamilton Chang; Wilmette Village President Bob Bielinski; Illinois Republican Party Vice Chair Carol Smith Donovan; as well as Committeemen Blair Garber (Evanston), Joe Hedrick (Niles), Ruth O’Connell (Wheeling), Pete Amarantos (Northfield), and Ryan Higgins (Schaumburg).