Chicago’s Bruce Rauner Is All But Running for Governor

The wealthy Chicago businessman moves further towards an official candidacy, forming an exploratory committee and announcing a listening tour of the state.

As we speculated when we included him on our list of the 100 most powerful Chicagoans, Bruce Rauner has announced his candidacy for governor… or at least made the speculation official by launching an exploratory committee and planning a listening tour. (His exploratory committee includes at least one more figure on our list: hedge-fund chief and bipartisan power player Ken Griffin at #23.)

It’s to be expected; Rauner took some time from his brief talking tour of the local media. A few days ago he sat down with John Kass, who’s been around long enough to figure what Rauner was up to:

“I’m doing some serious evaluation, meeting with people, getting ideas on how to do this. But I make decisions. And I’m going to decide soon.”

My translation? He’s running.

[snip]

That sounds like a man running for governor. And he wouldn’t have sat down for an interview with me and had his photo taken if he weren’t close to it.

Prior to that, he showed up on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight, nominally to talk about Choose Chicago (the tourism bureau he chairs) and its tourism ideas for monorails “glass-encased gondolas strung high above the Chicago River” and such. And… running for governor.

In his WTTW interview, Rauner didn’t go into too many specifics, but one thing he’s been particularly bold on is his criticism of Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union. His September 12, 2012 editorial in the Trib offers a potential glimpse, at least, into a Rauner gubernatorial bid: charter school expansion, “consistent, frequent, objective testing,” and allocating school money directly to students and “breaking up the CPS monopoly.”

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