BLOOMINGTON – Bill Brady, a Republican state senator who lost to Gov. Pat Quinn by the narrowest of margins in 2010, is formally launching another bid for governor.
The Bloomington native plans to announce his third try for the office on Wednesday, saying he believes that name recognition and better familiarity with his conservative stands gives him a better shot at success this time around.
"The familiarity we established gives us a strong position and maybe the only position to build on in the general election," Bill Brady told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "You see other bigger states like Florida with (former Gov.) Jeb Bush and Gov. Bobby Jindal in Louisiana; they didn't win until the second time."
Brady will formally make his gubernatorial campaign announcement with a statewide tour by plane beginning with an appearance in Chicago. He will continue on to stops in Springfield and Marion before ending at a family restaurant in his hometown.
He joins a quickly growing GOP field. Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford of Chenoa and Chicago businessman Bruce Rauner have already announced bids in the March 2014 primary. State Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale also is considering a bid, and his announcement is expected in mid-July.
Brady, a senator since 2002, has staked out a position as a staunch social conservative. He opposes abortions even in the cases of rape and incest and has proposed a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. He has supported creationism being taught in public schools.
He scored a primary victory over six other GOP candidates in 2010, besting Dillard by only 193 votes. Moderate, suburban votes were split between Dillard, former GOP Chair Andy McKenna and former attorney general Jim Ryan, creating an opening for Brady.
Quinn, a Democrat, defeated Brady that November by less than 1 percent of 3.6 million votes, a loss Brady today attributes to voters knowing Quinn better.
While Brady is a strong campaigner, Roosevelt University Professor Paul Green said that a major problem was Brady's conservative views not resonating well with moderate and independent voters in the general election.
"The reason he's not governor is because it didn't resonate up in the Cook and the collar counties," he said.
Quinn, wrestling with the state's pension crisis and low approval ratings, also is expected to face a primary. Former White House chief of staff Bill Daley has announced he is running, and Attorney General Lisa Madigan is seriously considering a bid.
Brady's situation, Green said, could be different this time, and the wide primary field may not work again to his advantage.
"One thing is different. There looks like there will be only one candidate coming from DuPage County which will make it a much different kind of race right off that bat. Now Brady will be running against Rutherford who is a fellow downstater. Dillard got shortchanged before, and now all of that will be working in his favor."
Brady said he isn't concerned that the central Illinois vote could be split between him and Rutherford.
"Most of the primary votes are well balanced," he said. "But the polling data doesn't indicate nor do I consider myself to be a geographical candidate. Our polling data shows I'm as statewide as any candidate can be."
Contact AP Illinois Government and Politics reporter Kerry Lester at https://twitter.com/kerrylester