GOP gubernatorial hopefuls appear in McHenry

Three Republican candidates attend golf event

Ken Koehler (left) of Crystal Lake and Dennis Adams of McHenry talk with Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Rutherford (right) during Wednesday's McHenry County Republican Party golf outing at the McHenry County Club.
Ken Koehler (left) of Crystal Lake and Dennis Adams of McHenry talk with Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Rutherford (right) during Wednesday's McHenry County Republican Party golf outing at the McHenry County Club.
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McHENRY – Three of the four men running for the GOP nomination for Illinois governor visited with local Republicans on Wednesday to briefly speak about their campaigns.

McHenry County Republicans gathered for their annual golf outing, which organizers expected to raise about $10,000.

The event, at the McHenry Country Club, attracted three people running for the GOP nomination: state Sen. Bill Brady, who greeted golfers out on the course early in the day, state Treasurer Dan Rutherford and state Sen. Kirk Dillard, who spoke with attendees during the early evening.

Bruce Rauner, a venture capitalist who lives in Winnetka, did not attend, said Geri Davis, executive director of the McHenry County Republicans.

Davis said the event was an opportunity for candidates to meet with fellow Republicans.

“They’re working the room,” Davis said. “They know pretty much this is a friendly crowd.”

Also in attendance was state Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, who won the GOP gubernatorial primary in 2006, but then lost the general election to Rod Blagojevich.

Topinka has not endorsed a candidate for governor.

“I know all four of them, and they’re all fine folks,” Topinka said. “I think any one of them could make a good governor.”

Topinka said whoever is the Republican nominee will need to talk about cleaning up government on the campaign trail, along with working to fix the state’s pension crisis.

“They are going to also have to show you can have good government,” Topinka said. “You can’t have all these scandals one after another after another. You’re going to have to show people who is honest and ethical, who can get the job done, and [they] have to show they have management skills to make the state work and go forward and be able to get along with all parties.”

Dillard, who was chief of staff for former Gov. Jim Edgar, spoke while attendees ate dinner. He officially announced on Monday that he would be running for governor.

The Hinsdale resident said he believes the state needs a governor from the suburbs who is familiar with the issues of growth, infrastructure needs, train lines and school aid.

“This is a great state folks. We are the capital of the Midwest,” Dillard said. “We must return pride to the prairie. We should not be at an unemployment rate twice or two and a half times Iowa’s.”

He said he has an ability to work with a Democratic legislature.

“I know how to get government and a legislature to live within its means, and I’ve proven that before,” Dillard said.

Rutherford, whose day included events in Kane County and Bloomingdale, among others, said his campaign is going well.

He said his campaign has more than $1 million in cash on hand and no debt.

Rutherford said he is confident as early polls have him leading the Republican primary race.

He said he does not want the temporary income tax hike to continue and added the tax increase did not solve the rest of the state’s financial problems, including pensions.

“The way I think it should ... be done, is Speaker [Michael] Madigan, [Senate President] John Cullerton, [House Republican Leader] Tom Cross, [Senate Republican Leader] Christine Radogno and the governor ... go in the room, close the door, put everything on the table and say, ‘I understand we’re not going to agree to everything, some people will be angry,... but we’re not going to walk out of here until we know the whole package is ready to go,’ “ Rutherford said.

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