Rauner signing abortion bill could impact next year's election

ByCraig Wall WLS logo
Friday, September 29, 2017
Impact of Rauner's abortion bill decision on next year's election
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Governor Bruce Rauner's decision to sign a controversial abortion bill is shaping up to have a significant impact on next year's election.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Governor Bruce Rauner's decision to sign a controversial abortion bill is shaping up to have a significant impact on next year's election.

He may now face a challenger in the primary, but may have put himself in a better position to win the general election.

House Bill 40 really put Gov. Rauner between a rock and a hard place. Vetoing it could have given Democrats a real issue for the campaign, but instead Rauner now has to overcome a revolt from within his own party.

Gov. Rauner called the decision to sign House Bill 40 a difficult one, but one he thought was the right thing to do for the state of Illinois.

"I don't think it was a political decision for him, I think this is what he believes," said Pat Brady, Next Generation Strategies, when asked if this was the best political decision for Rauner.

Pat Brady is the former head of the Illinois Republican Party.

"This will probably help him in the long run, because I think a lot of voters in this state, particularly in the suburbs where you need to win to win state-wide as a Republican, I think a lot of the voters agree with the position he took," said Brady

Rauner surrounded himself with women when he announced his decision, including pro-choice former Republican Lt. Governor Corinne Wood who said Friday Democrats tried to use women's bodies as political footballs by holding the bill for so long trying to put Rauner in a tough spot. But now that campaign issue has been taken away.

Conservative Republican representative Jeanne Ives believes Rauner has other issues as a result of his decision.

"Well, politically I think he's done. I don't see anybody in the Republican Party coming out in full strength which is what he would need for a reelection bid in 2018, and he's not going to get that," said State Rep. Jeanne Ives, (R) Wheaton.

Some in the Republican Party see Ives as a possible challenger for Rauner.

"I cannot say whether or not I will or will not be a candidate at this point," said Ives when asked if she would be a candidate to challenge the governor in the primary.

The question for Rauner is will he gain enough moderate support to overcome defections from his base and still win reelection.

"I don't think he'll lose the base because the choice is going to be this, are you going to vote for more Mike Madigan and his pick to be governor JB Pritzker or are you going to vote for Governor Rauner, a guy who's really trying to reform the state and to do the things he's been talking about for years," said Brady.

So, it could be Republicans who find themselves between a rock and a hard place.

As for Rauner's plans, he has not formally declared that he is running for reelection, but his campaign spokeswoman said he is circulating petitions and has every intention to do so.