Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has made clear his intention to seek re-election. Days before Christmas, he dropped 50-million dollars into his campaign account.
Meanwhile, Democrats are pondering who should take him on. But they are not alone.
Randy Stufflebeam says the dysfunction in state government presents an opportunity for a third-party run. The former career Marine has declared his candidacy for governor under the Constitution Party.
That’s because Stufflebeam says he’s watched both Democrats and Republicans engaging in what he calls “the betrayal of our constitutions."
Specifically he points to a provision in the Illinois Constitution commonly thought to require the governor and legislature to pass balanced budgets.
“It is not a suggestion," Stufflebeam says. "It’s not a wish list or anything. It is a mandate."
Illinois law makes it difficult for third party candidates. Just to get on the ballot, they have to gather many more signature than the so-called established political parties.
Nevertheless, Stufflebeam says the outcome of this year’s election shows he’s got a real shot.
“The election of Donald Trump, being the ‘outsider,’ really espouses the fact that people want something that is not the mainstream," he says. Stufflebeam, of Belleville, spent 22 years in the United States Marine Corps.
He previously ran for governor in 2006, coming in fourth behind then-Gov, Rod Blagojevich.