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Focus of 2014 campaign shifts to Republicans

Published: Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013 11:39 p.m. CDT

SPRINGFIELD – The drama in the 2014 campaign for Illinois’ statewide offices shifted substantially after the withdrawal of former White House chief of staff Bill Daley from the Democratic primary for governor. The focus on the state’s top job now switches to the Republican side, where a four-way primary again threatens to split the GOP’s main voting blocs. The field will not be finalized until a Dec. 2 deadline for candidates to file petitions with the state. Here’s a scorecard of where the governor race stands:

Governor/Democrats

Daley’s surprise exodus irked some fellow Democrats. They fear he waited too long to allow for another strong challenger to Quinn, who faces low public approval ratings and no end of challenges.

The only other announced primary candidate is Tio Hardiman, former director of a Chicago anti-violence group, who is little known outside the city and has a minimally funded campaign.

Governor/Republicans

Three longtime lawmakers and one billionaire “outsider” comprise the GOP field. That’s down from seven candidates four years ago, when state Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington got the nomination and lost narrowly to Quinn. Brady and fellow Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale are making their second bids. State Treasurer Dan Rutherford of Chenoa and Winnetka venture capitalist Bruce Rauner also jumped in.

Comptroller

The race for the job of paying Illinois’ bills could ultimately be an interesting contest between two well-known names in Illinois. But neither Republican incumbent Judy Baar Topinka nor Democratic Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon are being challenged in their respective primaries for the job at this point.

Simon, of Carbondale, vowed she would be “the most aggressive fiscal watchdog this state has ever seen.” Topinka is a former three-term state treasurer, former head of the state Republican party, and the party nominee who lost the 2006 governor’s race to Rod Blagojevich.

Attorney general

To date, no big-name Republican has stepped up to announce a run against Madigan, a 10-year incumbent with one of the biggest war chests in Illinois.

One Republican registered to fund raise is Paul Schimpf, a retired Marine Corps veteran and attorney from Waterloo who says he is “increasingly frustrated by the failure of our political class to address the problems facing our state.”

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