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Chicago television producer William J. Kelly was already considering a run for governor, but told the Journal-Republican that remarks made recently in Monticello by current office holder Bruce Rauner solidified his resolve.
Kelly, 50 and President of the Life Creative TV network, decided to announce his candidacy for the 2018 Republican primary Wednesday (April 5) in at the state capitol in Springfield.
He said remarks made by Rauner, which included a comparison of current Springfield politics to “trench warfare,” helped make up his mind regarding a gubernatorial bid.
“It helped me focus my intentions,” said Kelly. “I have been alarmed by what is happening in the state of Illinois and I believe Bruce Rauner has been a total disaster for the state of Illinois.”
He also took issue with the current governor's battle-themed speech made to Piatt Count Republicans at their annual Lincoln Day Dinner on Feb. 21.
“The fact is it perfectly sums up the Rauner mentality. The problem is when someone believes they are in the trench, that affects everything they do and the people around them. If Rauner wants to live his life in a trench, that's O.K. But now he's brought the Republican party into the trench with him.”
Kelly ran in the Republican primary for Illinois Comptroller in 2010 and 2014, each time finishing second in a three-way race to eventual general election winner Judy Baar Topinka.
As a lifelong Republican in a predominantly Democratic city, he claims he will be able to sit down with the oppposing party to reach compromise in Springfield.
“I've been surrounded by people who are Democrats all of my life, and have worked with Democrats all my life. So I know how to work with people and how to get along with people,” he said.
Life Creative TV Network has produced shows that include Upscale Chicago and Sportsaholic. Kelly is also launching his own beer, Citizen Kelly Irish Ale.