By Jamey Dunn
Gov. Pat Quinn took a swipe at Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner today after a former Republican powerbroker, who was convicted on a corruption charge, made positive statements about him.
William Cellini and Rauner attended a Republican fundraiser in Springfield yesterday. Cellini told reporters that it was the first time he had seen Rauner speak, and called him “impressive.” When asked if he planned to vote for Rauner, he said, “I've been a Republican all of my life, and he's the Republican candidate.”
Cellini was convicted in 2011 of attempting to extort a Hollywood producer into giving former Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich a $1.5 million campaign contribution. Cellini served less than a year in federal prison.
“I think he’s now a convicted felon, and I certainty don’t want to have anything to do with him personally, and I think anybody who aspires to this office should stay clear of him and should make that crystal clear to the people of Illinois,” Quinn said an unrelated news conference today.
A statement from Rauner’s campaign said that he “obviously renounces” any endorsement from Cellini.
Quinn, who served as lieutenant governor under Blagojevich, was asked today about his own ties to the impeached former governor, who is currently doing time in a federal prison after being convicted on corruption charges. “I’m not going to get into any politics,” Quinn responded.