Another candidate is complicating Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner’s reelection campaign. State Sen. Sam McCann (R-Plainview) announced a third-party bid for the state’s top office on Thursday.
"It's time for a real transformation for the state of Illinois," said McCann in a three-minute YouTube video announcing his candidacy and calling out Rauner for "surrendering to Chicago Democrats."
McCann and Rauner have a history. They've long clashed over state employee labor unions, which McCann supports and Rauner opposes. That led Rauner to back a primary challenger against McCann a couple years ago.
Now McCann will be running this fall as a Conservative Party candidate — after Rauner narrowly won the Republican primary over a more conservative challenger, state Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton).
“Get ready, governor. Bring it on," McCann said. "I look forward to debating you and I look forward to talking about your failed governorship. The failure that you brought to Illinois. The state is worse off than when you took office 3 ½ years ago. But I’m prepared to fix your mistakes."
The Rauner campaign issued a statement saying McCann only wants to "profit off of politics." The statement said, in part:
“Sam McCann is the worst kind of political opportunist who is only running for Governor to line his own pockets. McCann’s unethical record speaks for itself: he failed to pay his taxes, racked up massive debts, lied about serving in the Marine Corps, and used his campaign account as a personal piggy bank, even buying himself an SUV.”
McCann has had financial difficulties resulting in lawsuits and a foreclosure. But he says that makes him a “real person," and a better candidate for it.
“Especially the last 10 years, the working people of this state and this country have had tremendous problems," McCann said. "I’ve had my share of those, I fully admit it. I know what it’s like to walk in the footsteps of the average Illinoisan. (Neither J.B.) Pritzker nor Rauner have any clue what it’s like.”
On the Democratic side, nominee J.B. Pritzker issued a statement welcoming McCann to the race: “Bruce Rauner is a failed governor who has done untold damage to communities throughout Illinois, and people from across the political spectrum are ready for change."
In order to get on the ballot, McCann will need to collect 25,000 signatures before the end of June. McCann also faces financial challenges, facing off against a billionaire and a multi-millionaire. But McCann says this isn't a money game for him.
"No matter how much money I would line up, they would always be able to top it," McCann said. “It’s not really a race to see who can get the most money, it’s a race to see who can get the most votes. And that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to win this race. I’m going to be the next governor of Illinois and I look forward to restoring some sanity to (the state Capitol).”