Illinois businessman and Republican gubernatorial hopeful Bruce Rauner has run a campaign as a political outsider looking to "shake up Springfield" — but his campaign messaging could be thrown off track if a term-limits ballot measure doesn't get sorted out in the state courts soon.
Throughout the gubernatorial campaign, Rauner, who is taking on incumbent Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, has championed eight-year terms for state lawmakers. However, that measure, which Rauner wants to get on the November ballot, was thrown out last month by a Cook County judge. On Thursday, the Committee for Legislative Reform and Term Limits, of which Rauner is chairman, filed an appeal.
"The people of Illinois want term limits, and we will not be ignored," said Mark Campbell, Term Limits and Reform executive director. "The General Assembly will never vote to term limit themselves. It has to be the people."
But backers of the ballot measure are running out of time to give Illinois voters a chance to vote. The measure needs to be certified by Aug. 22, leaving Rauner and his supporters just days to certify it.
Rauner has made a major campaign issue out of Quinn and Democratic state House Speaker Michael Madigan's opposition to the measure. But Quinn earlier this year threw support behind the Republican-backed initiative.
"I support this proposed constitutional amendment and have supported term limits since 1994," the governor's office announced in April. "I hope voters have a chance to consider this constitutional amendment on the ballot."
The Committee for Legislative Reform and Term Limits announced Friday it'll hold a press conference next week to deliver "an important message" to the Illinois Supreme Court. Meanwhile, Rauner embarked on a statewide bus tour Friday that runs through the middle of next week.
"Shaking up Springfield," as Rauner has often said in campaign messaging, relies heavily on his support for term limits, and if the measure can't be certified to reach the November ballot, the Rauner campaign could suffer a major blow.