Here are 6 reasons why mega-millionaire Bruce Rauner offers Quinn his best chance for re-election.
#1. Rauner Will Energize Democrats -- Why did Democrats enjoy such success in 2012? Because their base voted big time, especially African-Americans who voted in higher percentages than any other racial or ethnic group. Off-year elections tend to be a different story because local races in ethnic urban areas are often blowouts, so many voters stay home. Fear of a rich Republican Governor could serve as a rallying cry Democrats, and make a difficult task for the GOP nominee in a deep blue state even more difficult.
#2. Quinn's Party Will Rally Around Him While Rauner's May Not -- State Senator Kirk Dillard emerged as the clear choice for Governor of the Illinois Republican establishment during the campaign, and it remains to be seen if they'll enthusiastically rally around Rauner. Quinn won't have that problem with Democrats.
#3. Money Can't Buy You Love -- How does Rauner walk into election day with a 17 point lead in the polls and win by a little more than 2? Many voters swayed by Rauner's saturation bombing of the airwaves with campaign ads apparently had buyer's remorse in the voting booth. We've seen this before with wealthy candidates in Illnois who build up big early leads only to see them collapse on election day. Rauner survived it this time, but the November election is a much more difficult challenge.
#4. Quinn Can Negate Rauner's Two Biggest Advantages -- Rauner's two big advantages are money and term limits. He wildly outspent his Republican opponents to build up a big early lead, and his term limits push against 'career politicians' was the one topic that made voter's ears perk up. Unlike Kirk Dillard, Quinn will have a substantial political war chest to counter Rauner's money advantage. Quinn's own term limits push back in 90's -- ruled unconstitutional by the State Supreme Court -- insulates him from that issue since he can say it is the one thing on which both he and Rauner agree.
#5. The Taxing Issue -- Only in Illinois can supporting a tax increase help get you elected. Rauner will insist the state's temporary income tax increase expire. Quinn will push for it to be extended while also supporting a progressive income tax structure -- he'll call it a 'fair tax' -- similar the the tax codes of the U.S., Wisconsin, Iowa. and most other states. When you consider how many people in Illinois rely on tax dollars, whether they are employed by the state, run non-profits, work for entities such as schools which rely on state funding, get state benefits including pensions or are state contractors, the thought of a massive loss of state revenue to them is frightening. Better to get paid late than not at all. Advantage Quinn.
#6. Unions Dislike Rauner More Than Quinn -- Quinn infuriated many union members when he aggressively pushed for pension reform. Some downstate union members such as educators would have had no problem supporting a Republican for Governor, especially if the incumbant Democrat is going to cut both pension and education dollars. But they won't support Rauner, who has been offering up a steady dose of anti-union rhetoric during his campaign.
Rauner has overachieved in many areas. He's a hard-working campaigner and has been a quick study. He has money, but also brings a great deal of substance. His campaign has proven adept at providing a compelling message in well produced campaign ads.
But Pat Quinn knows how to be lucky, and so far, that has served him very well.