Springfield — State Sen Sam McCann, who serves in the Republican caucus, announced today that he will run as a third party candidate on the “Conservative Party” label. McCann selected Veterans’ Rights activist Aaron Merreighn of Riverton, located just outside Springfield, as his Lt Gov running mate.
McCann has been a long-time critic of Gov Rauner, even though they both say they are conservative Republicans. In the announcement of his run for governor, McCann said, “Illinois deserves a clear choice in November. I am the only conservative in the race, and the only candidate who has stood up to both Rauner and Madigan,” McCann said. “Our campaign offers a real chance for Illinois to break free from the politics as usual crowd. Our campaign offers the only choice voters have to take back Illinois.”
Democratic nominee, JB Pritzker released a statement on McCann’s entry.
“I welcome another voice to the race for governor at this critical time for our state,” said JB Pritzker. “Bruce Rauner is a failed governor who has done untold damage to communities throughout Illinois, and people from across the political spectrum are ready for change. Since announcing this campaign, I have worked to hold Rauner accountable for his failure and I will continue doing so as we bring Illinoisans together to put Springfield back on the side of working families.”
Pritzker of course is hoping McCann will pull Republican voters away from supporting Gov Rauner, thus making it more likely for Pritzker to defeat Rauner.
Gov Rauner, who is still on a European trade trip, had his campaign ready to release damning information about McCann’s troubled financial past.
“Sam McCann is the worst kind of political opportunist who is only running for Governor to line his own pockets. McCann’s unethical record speaks for itself: he failed to pay his taxes, racked up massive debts, lied about serving in the Marine Corps, and used his campaign account as a personal piggy bank, even buying himself an SUV. Public service should not be for personal gain and Sam McCann’s new ‘campaign’ is just a thinly veiled attempt to profit off of politics.”
– Rauner Campaign Communications Director Will Allison
Rauner’s campaign was at the ready with details of McCann’s past financial hardships
- Sam McCann owns business with more than $200,000 in tax liens from the Internal Revenue Service and Illinois Department of Employment Security. McCann faces several lawsuits for unpaid credit card debt totaling nearly $20,000.
- Sam McCann had a home in Florida that was foreclosed on because he didn’t make more than $150,000 in mortgage payments.
- In 2010, Sam McCann lied about serving in the Marines and later had to take back his claim.
- Sam McCann spent more than $61,000 on a new 2017 Ford Expedition XLT, more than $19,000 on a truck and trailer, and more than $6,000 on a new engine for his personal Jeep.
The race for Illinois governor is now one where many conservative Republicans feel unrepresented. Rep Jeanne Ives sought to capitalize on Republicans’ dissatisfaction with Gov Rauner, and his failure to pass any of the measures of his “Turn Around” agenda he ran on in 2014. Republican voters clearly expressed that dissatisfaction with Rauner, when Rep Ives came within 20,000 votes of taking the Republican nomination away from the governor, despite having just a fraction of the funds the governor had, and starting her campaign with no name recognition.
Sen Sam McCann now faces an even greater challenge, in starting a campaign with virtually no name recognition, little in campaign funds compared to billionaires Rauner and Pritzker, and as a third-party candidate, now faced with the task of having to gather 25,000 signatures across the state by June 25, to even get on the ballot.