His downstate bus tour hit a political bump this week when the Illinois Radio Network aired a month-old sound bite in which Rauner proposed cutting the state's $8.25 an hour minimum wage rate by a dollar.
"I will advocate moving the Illinois minimum wage back to the national minimum wage. I believe we've got to be competitive here in Illinois," he said.
Rauner's reply was in response to Governor Pat Quinn's push to raise the rate to $10 an hour.
"If you work 40 hours a week, you shouldn't have to live in poverty. And that's why we have to raise the minimum wage to a decent amount," Gov. Quinn said.
Quinn's fellow democrats have joined union allies around the country in an election year push to raise wages for the nation's lowest-paid workers.
"We are in a time when actually most states want to raise the minimum wage," David Rojas, Workers Organizing Committee, said.
Businessman Rauner, who reported earning $53 million in 2012, shares the belief that lowering the minimum wage creates more jobs.
"Anyone who wants to see more people going back to work should support lowering the minimum wage," John Tilman, Illinois Policy Institute, said.
The other republican gubernatorial candidates, State Treasurer Dan Rutherford and Senators Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard, would maintain the state's current minimum wage. Dillard called Rauner's idea to lower the rate "political suicide."
"Being as wealthy, a multi, multi- millionaire as he is, shows he is out of touch with regular Illinoisans," Sen. Dillard said.
Republican Bill Brady also issued a statement Wednesday afternoon calling Rauner "out of touch".
ABC7 spoke with Rauner's press aide, who said Rauner was unavailable as he continues his downstate tour.
However, Rauner said Wednesday night he does not want to lower the minimum wage in Illinois.
"I never said bring it down a dollar. I didn't say take it from $8.25 to $7.25. I said, tie it back to the national rate. And I'm comfortable and I support increasing the national rate," said Rauner.
Rauner says he would support raising the national minimum wage to $10 an hour.