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Edgar, Ives respond to Rauner

State Journal Register

Thursday, January 10, 2019  |  Column  |  Bernard Schoenburg

Rauner, Bruce

In what might have been his final news conference as governor at the Statehouse this week, Gov. BRUCE RAUNER, when asked if the Illinois Republican Party needs to be moderate as former Gov. JIM EDGAR says, or more conservative as former state Rep. JEANNE IVES says, claimed they are “both right” and “both partly wrong.”

 

“Republicans won’t win unless we’re moderate in many ways and in many things,” he said.

 

But, he added, “If you’re gonna be a moderate to win elections, but you’re not going to be a reformer and fix the problems, what’s the point of winnin’? And in Illinois, Republicans have won in the ’80s and ’90s, but then they did the same bad stuff that the Democrats did. ... In a lot of ways, the Republican Party for decades was sort of a weak subsidiary of the Democratic Party — raise taxes, kick the can on pensions, over-regulate, give unaffordable deals to the government unions. What’s the point of winnin’?”

 

Given that he only won last year’s GOP primary over Ives by 3 points, and that he lost the general election to Democrat J.B. PRITZKER by nearly 16 points, some may be hesitant to let Rauner be their political consultant.

 

Ives’ response to this?

 

“Governor Rauner lost the support of both Jim Edgar and me during his tenure as governor,” she said via email. “In what direction should the ILGOP head? Opposite Bruce Rauner.”

 

And Edgar, who campaigned for Rauner in 2014 but urged Rauner by late 2015 not to hold the budget hostage to his agenda — and hasn’t talked to the governor since that year — defended his tenure.

 

“We weren’t perfect,” said Edgar, who was governor from 1991-1999. “I do think, though, at the end of the ’90s, we had ... a billion and a half dollar surplus, pensions were funded at the highest level they’ve ever been ... we paid our bills off within 30 days, unemployment in Illinois was below the national average, which was a very unusual thing in Illinois. ... It wasn’t perfect, but far better than it is today.”

 

He also said he doesn’t think “anybody ever accused me of rolling over to the Democrats” as governor, and while he had battles with House Speaker MICHAEL MADIGAN, D-Chicago, “we would work things out.”

 

Edgar said things did get worse later — mostly under Democrats — but he also has disagreements with Rauner.

 

“I think his approach on the budget was wrong and I think his kind of confrontation approach, I don’t think that gets much done, particularly when you don’t control things,” the former governor said, referring to the legislature dominated by Democrats.

 

Edgar is a co-chair of Pritzker’s transition committee — and said Pritzker appears to understand better how to work with people. He also said he was being facetious, but he thinks it’s good that Pritzker — like Edgar himself — lost his first try for elective office. Edgar lost a try for state representative, and Pritzker once ran in a primary for Congress.

 

“He knows what he doesn’t know,” Edgar said.

 

Floreth and future

 

On the issue of what direction state GOP should take, FRED FLORETH of Springfield, the Republican State Central Committeeman from the 13th Congressional District, will meet next week with GOP county chairmen or their representatives from counties in the district.

 

“It was a very bad election for Republicans statewide, but much better for us here in the 13th,” Floreth said. “So I want to solicit their input for recommendations for the state party.”

 

The state party also has an online survey on the subject, which Floreth thinks is a good idea.

 

“After the thumping we took statewide, I think you’ve got to reassess,” he said. “It’s never wrong to reach out to your supporters.”

 

After McCann’s race

 

The legal staff of the Illinois State Board of Elections has determined that former state Sen. SAM McCANN’s showing in the race for governor as a Conservative Party candidate has had a limited future effect.

 

Edgar said things did get worse later — mostly under Democrats — but he also has disagreements with Rauner.

 

“I think his approach on the budget was wrong and I think his kind of confrontation approach, I don’t think that gets much done, particularly when you don’t control things,” the former governor said, referring to the legislature dominated by Democrats.

 

Edgar is a co-chair of Pritzker’s transition committee — and said Pritzker appears to understand better how to work with people. He also said he was being facetious, but he thinks it’s good that Pritzker — like Edgar himself — lost his first try for elective office. Edgar lost a try for state representative, and Pritzker once ran in a primary for Congress.

 

“He knows what he doesn’t know,” Edgar said.

 

Floreth and future

 

On the issue of what direction state GOP should take, FRED FLORETH of Springfield, the Republican State Central Committeeman from the 13th Congressional District, will meet next week with GOP county chairmen or their representatives from counties in the district.

 

“It was a very bad election for Republicans statewide, but much better for us here in the 13th,” Floreth said. “So I want to solicit their input for recommendations for the state party.”

 

The state party also has an online survey on the subject, which Floreth thinks is a good idea.

 

“After the thumping we took statewide, I think you’ve got to reassess,” he said. “It’s never wrong to reach out to your supporters.”

 

After McCann’s race

 

The legal staff of the Illinois State Board of Elections has determined that former state Sen. SAM McCANN’s showing in the race for governor as a Conservative Party candidate has had a limited future effect.

 

“In counties where Sam McCann received 5 percent of the vote, the Conservative Party will be established for the election of precinct committeemen but not for county offices,” said MATT DIETRICH, spokesman for the board.

 

McCann, of Plainview, got 4.3 percent of the statewide vote for governor, and had noted that he got more than 5 percent in more than 80 counties.

 

The board’s ruling is based on a 2013 attorney general’s opinion in the aftermath of a more-than-5 percent showing by a Green Party U.S. House candidate in the 12th Congressional District.

 

Had McCann gotten 5 percent statewide, it would have put the Conservative Party on par with Democrats and Republicans in future elections concerning issues such as ballot access.

 

Sangamon County voters gave McCann nearly 9.2 percent in the Nov. 6 gubernatorial contest. The county gave statewide winner Pritzker nearly 42.7 percent; Rauner 45.6 percent; and Libertarian KASH JACKSON 2.5 percent.

 

Congressional father

 

RONALD BUCSHON, 83, of Kincaid, who was the father of a member of the U.S. House from Indiana, died Sunday at his home. He was a coal miner who served in the U.S. Navy at the end of the Korean War, and he was an accomplished woodworker.

 

“It is with great sadness that I announce my father has passed away,” U.S. Rep. LARRY BUCSHON said on his congressional website. “Thank you to those who have sent prayers and well wishes. ...”

 

The younger Buschon, who was a practicing heart surgeon before being elected as a Republican to Congress in 2010, was born and raised in Kincaid. He and his wife KATHRYN, a practicing anesthesiologist, live in the Evansville, Indiana, area. They have four children.

 

The elder Bucschon and his wife, BARBARA, who survives, also have another son and six grandchildren.

 

Visitation at 10 a.m. Friday and a funeral service at 11 are at Masterson Funeral Home in Kincaid.

 

Contact Bernard Schoenburg: bernard.schoenburg@sj-r.com, 788-1540, twitter.com/bschoenburg.

“In counties where Sam McCann received 5 percent of the vote, the Conservative Party will