Wisconsin is a deep blue state. It’s “Union Central”, it’s home to one of the most liberal universities in the nation. It’s hardly Tea Party Central. Scott Walker, in his first term as their Republican Governor, has turned Wisconsin on its ear. In his first term Walker got Act 10 passed which gave workers the right to not join a union. Wisconsin’s unions, led by AFSCME and the teachers’ unions, poured millions in out of state union money into a recall which Walker won handily.
In his first term, the state has come from a $1B deficit to $1B surplus, the union stranglehold on the state has been loosened if not broken – AFSCME membership is down at least 60% and teachers’ unions are not far behind – and the legislature just passed a bill giving property tax payers their first break in decades.
We said all that to say this, Illinois may be next.
Republicans nominated Bruce Rauner, a venture capitalist, as their candidate for Governor and he is looking like he might fit into the Scott Walker mold.
Illinois has the worst credit rating in the nation, their government pensions are in the deepest hole in the country and the state’s finances are close to Detroit’s. Rauner knows what the problem is.
Rauner took on the public-sector unions early. “The government-union bosses are at the core of our spending problem in Illinois,” he said in a primary debate, arguing that public unions create a “conflict of interest for the taxpayers” and have made a mess of the state’s finances.
Like Wisconsin’s Walker before him, he decries the system of tax, tax, spend, spend, elect, elect that lets public-sector unions feed at the public trough while campaigning to elect pro-union politicians.
The unions and Democrats are so afraid of Rauner that they spent almost $4 million on ads promoting a “soft” Republican in the primary, as Missouri Democrats did with Todd Akin. This time it didn’t work.
The Illinois Education Association endorsed Rauner’s opponent Kirk Dillard and their president said, “My advice is that, if you are a suburban or downstate Democrat or independent and you care about public education, you should vote in the Republican primary for Kirk Dillard.”
Rauner won 40 to 37 over Dillard.
November is shaping up to be a very interesting month, in more ways than one. Rauner would be the first “non-establishment politician in the Governor’s mansion in, well, forever, if he wins.
We’ll be watching this race closely.