Andy McKenna announces bid for governor

October 27, 2009 (CHICAGO) Former State Republican Chairman Andy McKenna officially announced his bid for governor Tuesday.

McKenna is vowing not to support a tax increase to repair the state's fiscal mess.

In a crowded republican field of gubernatorial candidates, McKenna is already the one to watch because he's the only one of six candidates in his party with enough money right now to go campaign broadcast television.

The 52-year-old McKenna is not the type to lead with his sense of humor, but before he announced his candidacy, his campaign released a video called Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow -- as in Blagojevich, as in a hairdo symbolizing corruption having taken over Illinois government.

"What kind of future has Springfield given to us? We have big problems in the state and they're problems we can solve with the right level of conviction," McKenna said.

The Chicago attorney ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 2004, reportedly spending over $10 million to win 14 percent of the vote. He is the son of multimillionaire North Shore businessman Andrew McKenna, Sr., the chairman of McDonald's restaurants, and a board member of Aon Insurance and the Chicago Bears. Andrew, Junior is prepared to spend more of the family fortune to run for governor.

"Illinoisans have a track record, fortunately, of not letting people buy any major office, whether it's a U.S. Senate seat or governorship," said Senator Kirk Dillard, (R) Candidate for Governor.

Dillard is one of five other Republicans vying for the party's nomination for governor. Not one interviewed by ABC7 for this report was intimidated by McKenna's wealth.

"There's no question that Andy McKenna is a Chicago politician. There's also no question that his father's wealth is the only reason he can get into this race," said Senator Bill Brady, (R) Candidate for Governor.

Nevertheless, some are upset that last spring, when McKenna was party chairman, he may have had access to information about the others' campaigns.

"If he is sitting there talking to us as the party chairman and in the back of his mind he's looking at us as competition, I think that's wrong," said DuPage County Board Chairman Bob Schillerstrom, , (R) Candidate for Governor.

A source to the campaign tells ABC7 that McKenna political ads will show up on broadcast television later this week. He will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to build his name recognition around the state.

"What Springfield needs is someone who's going to cut the spending, cut the corruption, restore integrity in government, and that is what's needed, and that is what I can bring," McKenna said.

McKenna says his "running mate" in the primary is State Senator Matt Murphy of Palatine, although under the Illinois Constitution, there is no such thing as a tandem candidacy.

Murphy must run against other lieutenant governor candidates separately, but Murphy will get some good face time in the McKenna T.V. ads, which should begin later this week.

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