Rauner at Gibson City restaurant: 'Don't believe those polls'

Rauner at Gibson City restaurant: 'Don't believe those polls'

GIBSON CITY — In a final swing through central Illinois before his long re-election campaign ends Tuesday, Gov. Bruce Rauner urged voters at a Gibson City restaurant to ignore the polls that show him with a double-digit deficit and to get out the vote.

Rauner appeared heartened by the ovation he got from the lunchtime crowd at the Country Kettle Restaurant on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Four years ago, Rauner got 76 percent of the vote in heavily Republican Ford County and 50.3 percent statewide as he upended Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn.

But a similar outcome isn't likely Tuesday, as every poll of the race in Illinois shows the Republican losing.

"Don't believe those polls," he told diners at the crowded restaurant Sunday in an impromptu campaign rally. "We need to get out the votes downstate to cancel those votes in Chicago.

"They're trying to bring in the big guns," Rauner said in reference to a late-Sunday-afternoon rally in Chicago featuring former President Barack Obama and the statewide Democratic ticket.

"All the trends are with us. We've got to fight these guys," Rauner said. "No more tax hikes. We have too many taxes already. No vehicle mile tax. We've got to stop the corruption. Let's get term limits on all elected officials. And the answer to balanced budgets isn't higher taxes. It's more jobs and higher economic growth."

When asked later what a second Rauner term would look like, he said, "First of all, it's important to see what we could block from happening. We could block the gerrymandering and I could get a bipartisan map so we could have a two-party democracy after the 2020 census."

Rauner has argued that he could serve as a barrier to Democratic Party gerrymandering of legislative and congressional district boundaries that will be drawn after the census. With a certain majority in the Legislature and a Democratic governor, Rauner said there would be nothing stopping Democrats from drawing another map favorable to their candidates.

The governor also said he would stop any move to a graduated income tax to replace Illinois' 48-year-old flat income tax. Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker has argued for a graduated income tax, although he also said he would use the proceeds from the new tax to give property tax relief. Further, any switch to a graduated tax would require voter approval.

"In my second term, I can do a lot of positive, and I could stop a lot of bad," Rauner said.

Rauner said he would push for pension reform, a capital improvement program and expanded gambling in his second term. He said he remains opposed to legalizing the recreational use of marijuana.

"We're hoping we get more reformers elected to the General Assembly," he said. "Everything I'm pushing for, Democrats in other states have done. Democrats did pension reform in Rhode Island. Democrats in California did term limits and fair maps. Democrats in Massachusetts fixed their health care and workers comp systems just the way I'm recommending.

"I'm not pushing partisan things. They've been done on a bipartisan basis. And I believe that (House Speaker Michael) Madigan is weaker now than he's ever been in his career. Women in the Democratic caucus are furious at him for covering up a lot of sexual harassment that his senior lieutenants did in the Democratic Party and in the Legislature," Rauner said.

Madigan's former chief of staff, Tim Mapes, resigned in June after being accused of bullying and sexual harassment by a female House staff member.

"Talking to them ... they know what I'm fighting for is right," Rauner said of House Democrats. "They don't agree on everything, but that's OK. I'll compromise, do some things that they want, do some things that we need.

"They know that we need balanced budgets, not just through higher taxes. And they know that our property taxes are outrageous, and we need to get local control."

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