State Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, announced Oct. 28 she is circulating nominating petitions to challenge Gov. Bruce Rauner in the Republican primary.
Ives said she has been studying the idea for the last three to four weeks. She knows she will have to work to get her name in front of voters around the state.
"We don't think that will be a challenge; we just know that we have to do it," she said. "Fortunately, we've already had really good media spots around the state, and we're appreciative of that. There will be a choice in this race when we get on the ballot."
Ives, who was first elected to the state legislature in 2012, previously served as a member of the Wheaton City Council. She and her husband have five children.
Candidates for governor must submit a minimum of 5,000 valid signatures by Dec. 4 to get on the March 20 primary ballot. Ives said she is confident she will get those signatures.
"We're running because it's time Illinoisans have an honest choice in the governor's race, especially for GOP voters," Ives said. "Unfortunately, our current governor has not been honest as to who he was going to be and what he was going to do. The policies that he has signed into law have not served Illinoisans well, everything from bailing out Chicago with that education funding formula to adding a brand new entitlement program when the state's broke. We hired Gov. Rauner to be the stop-gap against bad legislation that came out of the Illinois legislature. He was the last man between legislation that's going to move the state forward, or move the state back. And unfortunately, he's made a number of decisions where it has not moved the state forward."
His decision in September to sign legislation to expand taxpayer-supported abortions angered conservatives like Ives.
"That was a key vote that basically indicated that Gov. Rauner did not respect our party's principles and platform and actually didn't respect taxpayers statewide," Ives said. "Because the majority of taxpayers even when polled disagree with taxpayer funding of abortion. And no governor had ever signed into law such legislation regardless of party affiliation. And no governor should, especially when the state is broke. So that was really a poor decision that he made, and that's why he has brought upon this challenge himself through his actions."
Ives said she is proud of her accomplishments while in the state legislature.
"I've gained the recognition of somebody down in Springfield who is policy focused and cares about the details," she said. "My legislative successes would include reform at the College of DuPage and some other government transparency items, which is important. I have a number of other bills that have garnered attention from even the other side, where they have copied my legislation and passed it off as their own. So that means I'm being heard."
She has chosen Rich Morthland, a Rock Island County Board member who previously served in the Illinois House from 2011 to 2013, as her running mate.
"Rich has a principled background and a great profile that reflects who we are as Illinoisans," Ives said. "Look, we're an agricultural state, and the suburbs and the city tend to forget that, so you have the entire rest of the state that is still farmland that is producing jobs and food for the world. Rich is a farmer, and he's also a community college professor. And his wife, Betsey, is just a wonderful person as well. Those two balance our ticket, to show that we are about the entire state of Illinois, and not just the northeast sector."