Rauner stops by Morton

Steve Stein
Bruce Rauner speaks to a crowd at The Savory House on Oct. 21.

Vote early. But not often.

That was Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner’s tongue-in-cheek message Oct. 21 to a lunchtime crowd of about 75 supporters at a downtown Morton restaurant, one of the first stops on his statewide tour to encourage early voting for the Nov. 4 election.

Early voting started Oct. 20 across the state.

“If you vote early, we won’t have to call you or send you a letter to remind you to vote,” Rauner said. “We can focus our resources on people who are undecided or need help getting to the polls. We’re in a two-week sprint to the finish line.”

Rauner is locked in a tight battle with Democrat Gov. Pat Quinn in a campaign that has attracted national attention.

He’s being joined on his get-out-the-early-vote tour by his wife, Diana, and lieutenant governor running mate Evelyn Sanguinetti.

State Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, who lost to Quinn in the 2010 gubernational election and to Rauner earlier this year in the Republican primary, spoke to the crowd before the Rauner entourage arrived.

He said he’ll be voting early for the first time.

“I’ve always tried to be the first person in line at my precinct on Election Day, but I think it’s very important to vote early in this election,” he said.

“Every vote is important and can’t be taken for granted. I know. I won my first election for the state House by eight votes. I lost (to Quinn) by less than three votes per precinct.

“Vote early, and tell your friends, neighbors and relatives to vote early.”

Among Rauner’s supporters in the packed room were Republican National Committee secretary Demetra DeMonte of Pekin; Dennis Conover, Tazewell County Republican Party chairman; and Tazewell County Sheriff Robert Huston.

Rauner also stopped Oct. 21 in Colona and Rockford.

Quinn became governor in 2009 after Rod Blagojevich was impeached and was elected to a four-year term in 2010.