ILLINOIS (IRN) — Gov. Bruce Rauner said Tuesday that he sought out other people to replace him at the top of the ticket because he wanted to see his reform platform succeed.
Rauner talked about the decision during a news conference where he issued a summary of his term in office.
“It was all a function of me being all in to win for the team for reform,” he said. “This has never been about me. This job has never been something that I’ve particularly sought in and of itself. All I care is that we save our state for our children and our grandchildren … me and my personal situation is irrelevant. All that matters is that the team win and that we get major reforms done and that’s what I’ve been 100 percent committed to every day.”
In an interview with ABC 7 in December, Rauner said he sought out others to take his place. It was later revealed that he asked former state Sen. Karen McConnaughay, Chicago Cubs part-owner Todd Ricketts, and attorney general candidate Erika Harold to take his place under the Republican ticket for governor. They all turned him down.
Rauner went on to lose to Pritzker by 16 points.
The revelation that Rauner wanted someone else to replace him caused an uproar among Republicans across the state, some shocked that he would have stepped aside, others outraged that he fought a long primary battle against conservative Republican lawmaker Rep. Jeanne Ives, only to win by a couple percentage points.
In his final report, Rauner highlighted a number of policy victories from his four years in office along with reforms that he said the state still needs.
He said Illinois will benefit from the sweeping education reform laws passed in 2017 and the Supreme Court decision in Janus v. AFSCME, a case ending forced union fees that he initially started.
“The changes won’t have implications in the first few months, but in the coming years, major change in the balance of power between the taxpayer and groups inside government,” he said.
Illinois’ biggest challenge moving forward, Rauner said, will be stemming population loss and slow growth.
“I’m scared that it’s going to get a lot worse and the exodus is going to accelerate,” he said, blaming lawmakers for passing an income tax hike over his veto objection.
According to U.S. Census estimates, Illinois has suffered net population losses each of the past five years.
Rauner will deliver the summary to incoming lawmakers in coming days.