If former Gov. Pat Quinn is looking for a rematch with Gov. Bruce Rauner in 2018, history isn’t on his side.
Politico reports Quinn is trying to gain behind-the-scenes support to run for governor again, arguing the current budget impasse shows he was right to advocate for a permanent 5 percent income tax rate during the 2014 election.
The odds would be against him. University of Illinois Springfield political science professor Kent Redfield points out Quinn was never considered a popular governor.
“There isn’t that kind of reservoir of good feeling or respect that you can use as a basis for coming back,” Redfield said, “particularly since he’s going to have figure out some way to be on the stage for the next three years.”
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Quinn has made only a few public appearances since leaving office. He initially indicated he wanted to return to consumer advocacy, echoing his old role in founding the Citizens Utility Board.
But political overtones have stuck out in his remarks during those few appearances, and he hasn’t shied away from bashing Rauner’s policies. He referenced Rauner earlier this week when speaking at a rally for Chicago stagehands who had been fired for trying to unionize.
“In the past year we've seen, unfortunately, in our country, and even in our state, there are those who want to attack the right to organize, the right to collectively bargain,” Quinn said.
Redfield believes Democrats running for legislative seats will want a stronger candidate than Quinn on top of the ticket, and he expects current statewide office holders will be considered.
“Certainly (Attorney General) Lisa Madigan and (Treasurer) Mike Frerichs are two names that people will think about,” Redfield said. “Age does become a factor. You assume (Secretary of State) Jesse White is not a likely candidate. There’s no reason to believe (U.S. Sen. Dick) Durbin would want to leave the U.S. Senate.”
A member of the U.S. House could also be a possibility, according to Redfield. The last non-incumbent Democratic candidates before Quinn—Glenn Poshard and Rod Blagojevich—came from Congress.