Bruce Rauner was not my first preference for the GOP nomination for governor because I could not be sure if his conversion from Democrat to Republican was only cosmetic. He proved that he wants the job by raising money and partly self-financing a marketing campaign in the primary. Now that he is the GOP nominee, I think he deserves the benefit of the doubt from conservatives as long as their expectations for him in 2015 are realistic.
Mr. Rauner has never run for public office before and much of his primary campaign was based on fairly shallow and superficial themes. But there is no doubt that voters in Illinois are ready for a change and Rauner has a better than even chance of defeating Pat Quinn in November. That alone makes his campaign a very worthwhile effort.
As long as conservatives have no illusions that Rauner would be one of them, his administration might still be a very beneficial change for Illinois and better than the Bloomberg Republican lite brand in New York City was for many years. Rauner will make mistakes as all candidates and incumbents do but he has one major advantage over Pat Quinn in that as a Harvard MBA, he knows how to read and understand a balance sheet.
The Quinn Campaign is trying in a clumsy fashion to demonize Rauner by making a liability of Rauner's success in the business world and investing. But the Quinn strategy will likely fail because many voters understand that Rauner has exactly the skill set that is needed to turn Illinois around.
What Rauner does not have is experience in working with the Illinois General Assembly as a co-equal branch of state government. Republicans are not within striking distance of a majority in either House but they can still help Rauner on some budget votes and on sustaining a veto.
For these and other reasons I think conservatives can be comfortable that Rauner will bring beneficial change to Illinois and some partial benefits to the Republican Party by replacing Quinn.