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Oberweis’ Spot Atop of Ballot Benefits Rauner

US Sen. Candidate Jim Oberweis, R-Sugar Grove

US Sen. Candidate Jim Oberweis, R-Sugar Grove

Social conservatives may be angry at Rauner for his Pro-Choice stance, but one analyst believes Oberweis will drive them to the polls.

Recent actions by Republican gubernatorial nominee Bruce Rauner has caused some people to question whether the businessman-turned-candidate will drive social issue voters to the poll come November. However, one political insider believes Rauner (R-Winnetka) may not have to worry about that because of Senate nominee Jim Oberweis’ (R-Sugar Grove) spot atop the ticket.

Over the weekend, Rauner was seen attending the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois event celebrating the group’s pro-choice work over the past 35 years, an event where his wife Diana was listed as host. This prompted outcries from the Illinois Right to Life Foundation, who held their own event two days earlier, and other social conservatives.

“It is disgusting that Mr. Rauner would give money to, and celebrate with, an organization that brags about its support of partial birth abortion,”  said Illinois Right to Life Committee’s new executive director Emily Zender to the Illinois Review. This type of rebuke caused the Illinois Review and other political watchdog sites to question whether Rauner will get the social conservative vote in the election or if they will stay home.

Rich Miller, of CapitalFax.com, laid out the case about how Rauner is not only sticking to his original pro-choice views but that it will likely not matter come Election Day.

“Besides growing GOP momentum in an off-year election, one reason Rauner can get away with this is the person who’s appearing at the very top of the ticket this November,” Miller said in an email to his subscribers. “Many Republicans feared that State Sen. Jim Oberweis would be a disaster as a Senate candidate.”

Oberweis has been criticized in the past for his verbal gaffs and misguided ads, including an ad against immigration for which he has since apologized. This wasn’t the first time Oberweis has apologized for his immigration ad from his 2004 race. When campaigning for Congress in 2008, Oberweis apologized for the ad, calling it too harsh. Miller noted that the owner of the eponymous regional chain has ran a pretty clean-cut campaign since announcing for Senate.

“So far, though, Oberweis has managed to rein in his verbal predilections and, other than taking a Florida vacation right before the GOP primary, has run a better than expected campaign.  He is promoting a two-tiered minimum wage bill, is pushing to open up automobile sales on Sundays, passed a law to raise the speed limit to 70, extended a surprising olive branch to immigration activists and, most importantly, hasn’t yet made any major social issue gaffes.”

Miller noted that Oberweis has held the support of social activists when he previously ran for office. As long as Oberweis keeps running the smooth campaign he’s had so far, Miller said, there is no reason to believe that will change when voters go to the polls this fall.

“And if base voters turn out, there’s no way they’re voting for Pat Quinn,” he said.

 

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Justin Shimko

Justin Shimko is an award-winning writer and political analyst. He began as a reporter in his college days at the University of Oklahoma, writing for The Oklahoma Daily (rated as one of the best collegiate newspapers in the nation) and The Oklahoman, the statewide newspaper, winning awards from the CSPA and the Society of Professional Journalists. He later moved on to research and writing work for a number of political campaigns. His email is [email protected]