CHICAGO (CBS)–With the election about a week away, Illinois Republican Governor Bruce Rauner is pulling out all the stops to try to close the gap with democratic opponent J.B. Pritzker, who has a double-digit lead in the polls.
Rauner is spending the week on a statewide bus tour in the hopes of connecting with as many voters as possible before election day.
Despite odds running against his favor–Rauner–who beat former Governor Pat Quinn four years ago to win his first term as governor–expressed optimism Monday in suburban Libertyville.
“People said we were trailing at the polls four years ago, and we won,” Rauner said. “I believe we’ll win again this time.”
For months, Rauner has worked to win back the roughly 300,000 GOP conservatives who voted for his primary challenger, State Rep. Jeannie Ives.
But his efforts, he admitted, may not be enough.
“We need a lot more than 300,000 votes,” Rauner said. “We need to come together–united.”
Addressing the state budget stalemate that stretched about two years, Rauner called it “tragic.”
“It hurt all of us, and all of us elected officials share some responsibility for that,” he said.
Rehab efforts with conservatives seem to be backfiring.
After not even mentioning President Trump’s name for months, Rauner attended Trump’s downstate rally on Saturday–but Trump never acknowledged Rauner’s attendance.
Rauner said he wasn’t embarrassed about President Trump’s failure to address him in the crowd at the rally in Murphysboro, Ill.
“He’s travelled in many states and doesn’t call out every elected official,” Rauner said.
Pritzker and Rauner have launched increasingly-vicious TV ads against each other since election season began, but Rauner’s final campaign ad is a simple plea for support in the Nov. 6 election.
In the ad, Rauner claims the future of Illinois is on the line, and asks voters to save the state.
“It’s about us against taxes, corruption and job losses that Pritzker and Madigan are going to bring on us,” Rauner said.