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What People Are Saying: Rauner’s Poor Performance Foreshadows Tough Fall Election

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Last night, Governor Bruce Rauner barley survived a primary challenge after 48% of Republicans voted to oust him. Reporters focused on how Rauner’s poor performance confirms his standing as the “most endangered governor running for reelection.” Reporters also pointed out the surge in Democratic primary turnout, and how that foreshadowed success in the fall.
What they’re saying about Rauner’s poor performance:
Politico – Illinois Playbook: “Yes, it’s a win. But it was a weak, lifeless victory — an anemic performance from an incumbent governor who vastly outspent his competitor.”
Washington Post: “Illinois’s embattled Republican governor, Bruce Rauner, narrowly managed to fend off a socially conservative primary challenger Tuesday, sending him into the general election as one of the most endangered governors in the nation.”
Ben Bradley, WGN: “Bruce Rauner’s fighting for his life not in a general, but in a primary, that’s gotta say he’s a weakened candidate going into the general.”
Wall Street Journal: “The narrow margin against a relative unknown highlights Mr. Rauner’s vulnerability.”
Vox: “But while Rauner has won this fight, his battle for the general election is looking a lot more fraught.”
What they’re saying about Democratic enthusiasm:
Edward-Isaac Dovere, Politico: “the much bigger turnout for Democrats than Republicans in last year’s Virginia primaries ended up forecasting how big the margin was for Democrats over Republicans in November. Tonight in Illinois, much bigger turnout for Democrats than Republicans again.”
Craig Wall, ABC 7: “Numbers for November. @GovRauner could be in trouble vs. @JBPritzker.  Compare total  Republican votes cast, 710,847 to total Democrats votes, 1,272,379. Repblicans outgunned by 561,532”
Mark Maxwell, WCIA: “Biggest readout from tonight: the turnout. Democrats witnessed a 200% spike over their lackluster 2014 numbers. GOP slipped down to just 70% where they were four years ago.”
Paris Schutz, WTTW: “GOP Gov: nearly 50% of precincts – Rauner 52.3%, Ives 47.8. Goodness, a 4.5% margin. If it stays this way, it will be hard to not spin this as embarassing for Rauner.”
Politico – Illinois Playbook: “Democratic primary turnout was up across the state — overall, it was triple what it was in 2014, according to the Democratic Governors Association. And turnout was 30 percent higher on Tuesday than in 2010, a more comparable primary election since there was a competitive Democratic primary that year. In an ominous sign, Republicans saw an estimated drop of 30 percent in turnout over 2014, which was a highly competitive primary where Rauner edged out three other top contenders.”
What they’re saying about the obstacles Rauner faces:
Vox: “He ranks among the least popular governors in the country and has a lower approval rating than President Donald Trump — around 30 percent — in a state Trump lost by more than 20 points.”
Lance Trover, former Rauner Strategist: “But it’s obvious the governor has a little work to do to put his party back together — all while fighting J.B. Pritzker…He’s got a heavy lift ahead. He’s in a Democratic-leaning state with an anti-incumbent mood hitting the nation.”
Breitbart: “There was little love lost in the room for Rauner, who will struggle to unify the party ahead of the November general election.”
Washington Post – Daily 202: “Rauner’s close call is reminiscent of what happened in Virginia last June to Ed Gillespie. The former chairman of the Republican National Committee only beat firebrand Corey Stewart in the GOP primary by one point, despite a massive fundraising advantage and overwhelming institutional support. The unexpected vulnerability foreshadowed Gillespie’s struggles to unite the right in the fall.”
Washington Post: “For one, he’s running for reelection as a Republican in a Democratic state, a state that voted for Hillary Clinton by nearly 20 points. And he must make a compelling reelection bid after presiding over one of the worst modern fiscal crises of any state, which left Illinois without a full budget for two years, downgraded its credit rating to nearly junk status and made Rauner one of the least popular governors in America.”