CHICAGO - Former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood raised eyebrows Wednesday when he fiercely criticized the Illinois Republican Party's new gubernatorial nominee Bruce Rauner's winning primary strategy. LaHood, a Republican, represented Peoria and surrounding communities to the U.S. Congress for 15 years before joining President Barack Obama's cabinet in 2009.
"I don't believe in campaigns that trash other candidates," LaHood told the Sun-Times Natasha Korecki. "I think you ought to talk about what you’re going to do. I’m registered to vote in Peoria and I saw the literature that the Rauner campaign sent out about Rutherford and Brady and Dillard and made them look like, you know, people that they aren’t. Disparaging their public service. For what? For your own public gain. I don’t believe in that."
LaHood's criticism of Rauner for negative campaigning is nothing new. During the 2008 presidential election, LaHood criticized John McCain's vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, saying she should put a stop to the name calling.
"This doesn't befit the office that she's running for. And frankly, people don't like it," he said.
But LaHood's criticism, which was mouthed Wednesday morning after attending a fundraiser for U.S. Senator Susan Collins alongside Bruce Rauner's wife Diana about the ILGOP's newly-chosen nominee didn't stop there.
LaHood's comments showed there's a lot of wound-healing that will need to go on in the divided IL GOP before November if they intend to "sweep Pat Quinn into the dust bin," as the nominee Bruce Rauner said Wednesday.
"I know what Rauner did in central Illinois to Aaron Schock, he spent $1 million and trashed Aaron Schock because he thought Schock was going to be his opponent. He ran ads all over Central Illinois. Bought television ads. Obviously he was involved in the effort to trash Dan Rutherford – and it worked."