Illinois Conservatives Criticize Rauner Over Tribune Photo

-By Warner Todd Huston

Friday morning’s Chicago Tribune (8/16/13) featured a photo of businessman and GOP candidate for Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner getting a big smooch on the lips from “friend and supporter Susan Petty.” The phot got many conservatives up in arms.

Venture capitalist Bruce Rauner, a Republican candidate for Illinois governor, kisses friend and supporter Susan Petty on Thursday after riding to the Illinois State Fair in Springfield on his motorcycle. Thursday was Republican Day at the fair. (Tribune caption)

The photo, taken by John J. Kim at the Republican Day event at the Illinois State Fair, raised criticism from several directions. Some raised concerns about moral issues and some found it a telling illustration of political coalition building.

First of all the woman delivering the smooch is one Susan Petty, a political operative who was until the end of July on the payroll of Adam Andrzejewski’s For the Good of Illinois.

Petty at a previous event with Adam Andrzejewski

As the Illinois Review notes, many of Andrzejewski’s crew have been joining Rauner’s campaign over the last two months. This photo drove that migration home and stoked a bit of disgust from more conservative Illinoisans who find Rauner not to be too much better than a Democrat.

IR also touched on the “moral” issue saying, “Where was Mrs. Rauner during this photo? It’s unknown, but she definitely wasn’t in this photo’s reach.”

Speaking of the moral matter, Jon Zahm’s anti-Rauner website, If You KNOW Rauner, Then It’s NO Rauner, called the photo the “Kiss of death for the Rauner campaign.”

Zahm also pointed out the moral matter of a candidate giving such a forceful lip lock to a women he isn’t married to. “A married man kissing a married woman on the lips like this is wrong on both his part, and her part. It is completely inappropriate,” Zahm wrote.

The anti-Rauner site also complained that Rauner is paying off or enticing “conservative activists across the State of Illinois and the country.”

Petty at an appearance with candidate Rauner

At this point, no one seems quite sure if Susan Petty is a paid staffer for Rauner, though.

I’ll mention that I personally received some emails from various sources upset at the whole episode, too. I won’t reproduce the messages or name names as it isn’t relevant to the story except to note that more than just the two above are talking about the photo.

Finally, as an aside, Zahm also had an interesting rumor. He said he heard that Petty is looking into the prospect of running against conservative GOP State Rep. John Cavaletto in the 107th District. The 107th is situated in and around Salem, Ill.

About Warner Todd Huston

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago-based freelance writer, has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and is featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart's, and all Breitbart News' other sites,,, and many, many others. Additionally, he has been a frequent guest on talk-radio programs across the country to discuss his opinion editorials and current events as well as appearing on TV networks such as CNN, Fox News, Fox Business Network, and various Chicago-based news programs. He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the book "Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture" which can be purchased on He is also the owner and operator of Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions : EMAIL Warner Todd Huston and follow him on Twitter, on Google Plus , and Facebook.
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