Tom Kacich: Trump supporter joins run against Rauner

Tom Kacich: Trump supporter joins run against Rauner

There are now four candidates from East Central Illinois on statewide tickets for the March 2018 primary election.

State Treasurer Mike Frerichs, a Democrat from Champaign, intends to run for re-election. Erika Harold of Urbana is the Republican Party-backed candidate for attorney general. Patricia Avery of Champaign is Tio Hardiman's running mate in his uphill enterprise to be the Democratic candidate for governor.

And Ray Tranchant of Catlin is the lieutenant governor candidate on what may be an even longer shot: Chicagoan William Kelly's intraparty challenge to Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Tranchant is a Navy veteran and a supporter of President Trump who said he has never run for office before. The two big reasons he wants to serve with Kelly, he said, are fiscal responsibility and illegal immigration.

Tranchant, whose 16-year-old daughter Tessa was killed by an illegal immigrant from Mexico in an auto accident 10 years ago in Virginia Beach, Va., said he is particularly upset by Rauner's decision last month to sign the Illinois TRUST Act, which restricts local law enforcement from collaborating with federal immigration agents to detain anyone unless the federal officials have a warrant.

Tranchant called the legislation "a sanctuary bill" that would protect hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants in the Chicago area who now, he predicted, will move downstate.

"We believe that they're going to get out of there (Chicago), mainly come here, look for jobs and get aid and live in a better and safer environment," said Tranchant, who said he "is in his early 60s" and had retained his Illinois residency even while in the military. "That's going to cost our schools and services a lot of money. We don't think it's good."

Kelly, a conservative radio host in the Chicago area, called Rauner "the new Judas of the Republican Party" for signing the immigration legislation.

"Today, unlike Bruce Rauner, we stand proudly with President Trump and the federal government," Kelly said last week. "I will recall Rauner by defeating him in the 2018 GOP primary and repeal Illinois' sanctuary state status by executive order. As governor, my first act will be to recognize the federal government's exclusive power to make and enforce immigration law."

Tranchant said he also was upset with Rauner for allowing the state to operate without a budget for more than two years.

"That hurts the state of Illinois as well," said Tranchant. "Many of my friends who are Democrats voted for him because they wanted a change and they didn't want the same old incestuous relationship that (former Gov.) Pat Quinn had with (House Speaker Michael) Madigan. We figured this guy was just like Trump, would make a difference, and so far, all he's done is isolated himself and refused to do things."

In order to get on the ballot, Kelly, Tranchant and their allies will have to collect 5,000 to 10,000 signatures between now and early December.

"We'll get the 5,000 signatures," Tranchant deadpanned. "I've got that many friends on Facebook."


Democratic congressional candidates

If there was one common theme in last week's forum among the five Democratic candidates for Congress in Illinois' 13th District, it was that incumbent U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis is out of touch with constituents and is a captive of special interests.

With that message, the candidates are actually parroting constituents, particularly Democratic activists who have been pushing Davis to hold town hall meetings and to spend more time at public events in his district.

"I want to be able to be the person who is able to listen to you, take your concerns, your ideas and bring them out to Washington," said Betsy Dirksen Londrigan of Springfield. "That means listening to everybody and getting in your car and making sure that you're reaching every part of this district, because if we didn't learn anything from 2016, one lesson we have to learn is that nobody likes feeling left behind and nobody likes feeling ignored."

Normal high school teacher Benjamin Webb: "We need somebody who is willing to have the conversations with constituents. We need somebody who is not necessarily the antithesis to Rodney Davis — a person who refuses to listen and to learn from the views of constituents — we need somebody who is willing to moderate conversations amongst ourselves."

Edwardsville attorney Erik Jones: "We need members of Congress who are willing to fight for people and not for special interests. We have a member of Congress now in Rodney Davis who over and over and over again is siding with the special interest and not with the people's interests."

Bloomington physician David Gill: "We have a representative in Mr. Davis who not only is wrong on virtually all of the issues that we'll be discussing tonight, but he stands beside and props up this president, lends power to President Trump."

Jon Ebel, a University of Illinois professor from Urbana: "I want to meet with you in town halls. I want to hear your ideas. I want to hear your critiques. This is a politically diverse district. Every decision, every vote is going to make somebody happy and is going to make somebody upset."


Facebook followers

Who among the five Democrats has the most Facebook followers on their political pages?

David Gill has a big lead with 6,148, but that's likely because his candidacy predates the others by several years. Next was Erik Jones with 1,006, followed by Betsy Londrigan with 961, Jon Ebel with 427 and Benjamin Webb with 159.

We'll see later if Facebook followers translate into votes.

Incidentally, Rep. Davis' political Facebook page has 14,880 followers.


More 101st House hopefuls?

Former Decatur City Council member Dan Caulkins last week joined Cerro Gordo school board President Todd Henricks as candidates for Rep. Bill Mitchell's 101st House District seat, and there's still a good chance that more Republicans will join the race, including Piatt County Board Chairman Randy Keith of Monticello. Mitchell announced this summer that he would not seek re-election after first being elected in 1998.

Keith has been chairman of the county board since 2014.

Tom Kacich is a News-Gazette reporter and columnist. His column appears on Sundays and Wednesdays. He can be reached at 351-5221 or at

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Bystander wrote on September 10, 2017 at 7:09 am
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Finally, real Americans to run against Rauner. It's about time Illinois start enforcing immigration laws.