SPRINGFIELD — State Rep. Jeanne Ives sounds like she'll be a candidate for Illinois governor.
The Wheaton Republican is one of the most conservative members of the General Assembly and she is hopping mad at Gov. Bruce Rauner who she contends is not trustworthy.
Rauner angered many in his party by signing a bill last month providing state funding for elective abortions. He did this after promising multiple Catholic bishops and state lawmakers that he wouldn't.
"He's failed the integrity test. No one in the Legislature believes a word he says," Ives said.
If Ives enters the race, she would be the only candidate opposing abortion rights in either the Republican or Democrat gubernatorial primaries.
"The state is broke. We can't afford to create another entitlement program, yet alone for something as morally reprehensible as abortion," she said.
But Ives says her objection to Rauner goes beyond this.
For example, although he ran on a platform opposing "crony capitalism" Rauner signed a measure giving a multibillion dollar bailout to Exelon, a power company.
Are you starting to get the feeling she really dislikes the governor?
Yeah, me, too.
But it's one thing to object to what the leader of your party is doing and it's another thing to leave your safe seat in the Legislature and challenge him.
Ives said she hasn't decided yet if she will run. But listening to her, it sure sounds like she is on the brink of diving in. But running and winning are two different things. And, sadly, money is the lifeblood of politics.
Ives began the month with $8,488 in her campaign coffers, and Rauner had $65.5 million. Most of that money came from either himself or his billionaire buddy businessman Ken Griffin.
That almost makes David and Goliath seem like an even contest.
And the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, J.B. Pritzker, also is a billionaire who is self- funding.
Could Ives beat not only Rauner but Pritzker?
Mike Lawrence, a longtime statehouse observer and former senior adviser to Gov. Jim Edgar, is skeptical.
"I don't think she will win the primary, but I'm not writing her off. I think if she runs, she will start out with a solid 30 percent of Republicans who vote in primaries. Far-right conservatives have a disproportionate influence in primaries," he said.
Lawrence noted that when Edgar, ran in the Republican primary in 1990 against Steve Baer, the relatively unknown Baer got more than 30 percent of the vote mainly from pro-life voters angry that Edgar supported abortion rights.
So, can a middle-class mother of five beat two of the wealthiest men in Illinois?
She faces long odds. But she seems undeterred. And there might be a certain populist appeal to someone who isn't among the wealthiest Illinoisans running.
When pressed about her candidacy, Ives said her eighth-grade daughter told her, "Mom, I thought you were going to announce last week."