CHICAGO - Is is being reported that Bruce Rauner will win the 60 percent of the vote needed to get the Cook County GOP's pre-primary endorsement. An announcement by the Cook County Republican Party is planned for Saturday.
According to Michael Sneed, Orland Township Committeeman Liz Gorman is lobbying for Rauner, 42nd Ward Committeeman Eloise Gerson is pushing for State Treasurer Dan Rutherford and Wheeling Township GOP Committeeman Ruth O'Connell is arguing for State Senator Kirk Dillard.
Sources told Illinois Review that the contest has primarily been between Kirk Dillard and Bruce Rauner. Rauner was offering financial investment into the various Cook GOP organizations, while Dillard was offering peace in the form of a brokered truce between the warring factions in the county's Republican leadership.
Initially, the preference among the leaders was for an armistice and therefore for Dillard. However, the Dillard offering went off the rails following his campaign's press release accusing Cook County GOP Chairman Aaron Del Mar of being bought off by the Rauner campaign.
"This is the height of pay-to-play," Dillard campaign manager Glenn Hodas said after Rauner received Palatine GOP's endorsement last month. "Rauner and his allies are basically buying votes while making it appear as though he's getting widespread support. It's absolutely unacceptable."
Following that, the Cook GOP leadership fractured again and the tide of support turned to Rauner, who the other campaigns admit will likely win the endorsement.
However, one township committeeman told Illinois Review that no matter who is endorsed on Saturday, GOP townships will work for the candidates of their local organization's choice, not the county's. So while Rauner may win the endorsement, the ultimate victory depends on who gets out the vote next March 18.