Illinois Republican gubernatorial nominee and multi-billionaire Bruce Rauner has been Captain Invisible on gun rights.
He plays the role of a conservative, of sorts, in his campaign thus far. To tout his 2nd Amendment credentials, he loves to brag on his hunting dog, as though gun owners are low-information voters who will clap on cue because some guy says he’s got a good “huntin'” dog.
He often closes his presentations with, “And I’ve got the best huntin’ dog in the state!” – right before he disappears from the microphone before anyone can ask him questions.
It’s reminiscent of John Kerry’s hunting blunders in his race against George W. Bush in 2004.
…But this is Kerry, going in for a hunting license yesterday in Ohio. He’s going into a sporting goods store. This is what he said.
RUSH: Did you hear that? “Can I get me a huntin’ license heyah?” Can I get me a hunting license here? Now, ladies and gentlemen, we all know that John Kerry doesn’t speak that way. We know it. But that’s what he thinks the people in Ohio will judge him as a real guy, if he walks in there and says: “Hey, can I get me a hunting license here?” But he blew it because it’s not, “Can I get me a hunting license?” If he really wanted to carry this off, he should have said, “Hey, can I get me a huntin’ license in here, dude?” or some such thing as that. So, I mean, if there’s any doubt, folks. The whole thing was a put on photo op. The Democrats today are even admitting that’s what it was. But Kerry has to go in and say, “Can I get me a hunting license here?”
Bruce Rauner is trying to follow that template with his Carhartt jacket and remarks about his “huntin'” dog.
Also telling was Rauner’s absence at the Illinois Gun Owners Lobby Day last week in Springfield, where three of the four Republicans seeking the nomination for governor were present and delivered short remarks to thousands of gun owners in town to lobby for gun rights.
Guns Save Life’s very own Don Huskey caught up with Mr. Rauner when he was down in Effingham in recent days, courting local Republicans in his race for the Republication nomination.
Initially, Huskey spoke with one of Rauner’s aides and asked about Rauner’s campaign manager, Ron Gidwitz donating $5,000 to an anti-gun organization.
“His aide got all huffy with me,” Huskey said. “Clearly I’d hit a sore nerve by even asking.”
Mr. Huskey went on to say that he pressed the aide for an explanation.
The response from the kid who looked like he wasn’t too far out of college?
Paraphrasing: “We don’t know where all the checks went. Do you know where all of your checks are going?”
Huskey chuckled. “My response to that was ‘You’re damn right I do!’. Bruce needs to clarify this because a lot of us want to know about it!”
The two of them went back and forth briefly, and a while later at the event, Rauner came over to Huskey. He refused to answer Huskey’s questions on his position relating to gun rights, but instead offered to meet and talk about it at a later time. “Like that’s ever going to happen,” last year’s GSL Effingham coordinator laughed.
We’re not impressed with the fact Bruce claims to have a good “huntin'” dog, bought with his vast wealth. We would be a lot more satisfied if he would address the issue of gun rights in Illinois.
In the end, it would seem that Prairie State residents are likely to see a Rauner – Quinn race in the fall for governor.
If Rauner really believes he can win this race without support of gun rights supporters and other traditional conservative blocks, then he will be in for quite a shock.
Then again, maybe he’s running as a favor to Democrats to help ensure Gov. “Clueless” Pat Quinn can handily win re-election.