A made-for-TV entrance opened the Republicans’ day at the State Fair Thursday. A black-helmeted Bruce Rauner rode a Harley-Davidson motorcycle onto the fairgrounds to a cheering, chanting crowd. Rauner closed an hour-plus rally that included an introduction from former Gov. Jim Edgar, a few words from U. S. Sen. Mark S. Kirk (R-Ill.), a flashback from House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) about what was popular the year House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) first took the gavel (1983; DeLoreans and Lee Elia), and a prayer from a Baptist pastor who reminded everyone they are not better off than they were four years ago.
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The speech itself reviewed Rauner’s usual points about working with lawmakers, ending cronyism, and bringing his business acumen to Springfield.
Beforehand, he told reporters his vow not to take a salary and pension does not necessarily apply to running mate Evelyn Sanguinetti or to future governors; it’s just his way of giving back. He also promised to release his tax returns in October but would not answer whether that also meant individual schedules, which would shed more light on his financial picture.