Incumbent state Rep. Charlie Meier has not endorsed or otherwise supported either candidate for Illinois governor.
Meier, the sitting representative for the 108th district, a Republican from Nashville, said he is running his own race against a competitor now well funded by an outside Super PAC.
"I am not supporting either," Meier told the Record. "I have not made up my mind yet on endorsing or who I am supporting in the primary."
State House Rep. Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) | Photo courtesy of State House Rep. Charlie Meier (R-Okawville)
Meier said he is a colleague of Rep. Jeanne Ives and that he has worked with Gov. Bruce Rauner, the two Republican candidates for governor.
"I have worked with both and cannot be out endorsing one or the other," Meier said.
His opponent, Don Moore, a member of the Madison County board, did not respond to emails and calls asking for comment on which candidate he backs for governor.
Moore has received strong support from the Liberty Principles PAC, which is led by Chicago talk show host Dan Proft and largely funded by Richard Uihlein, a multi-millionaire based north of the city.
The group has spent more than $200,000 in support of the candidate, including paying for a number of television advertisements. Moore has raised just over $5,000, including $2,000 in loans from himself, according to public records.
Liberty Principles and Uihlein are backing Ives in her primary challenge against Rauner. The Super PAC received $3 million from Uihlein in January.
One of the series of television advertisements supporting Moore and paid for by Liberty Principles compared Meier to an old heifer that should be put down. Meier described the ad as "atrocious," but also lightheartedly told the Record that heifers are young female cows. Meier operates a farm in Washington County; Moore had worked as a farmer as a young man.
"The hardest decision I have to make on the farm is when to put a heifer down," Moore says in the ad.
"I'm not mad at the heifer, it's just no longer the animal you once knew. Just like I'm not mad at Charlie Meier for voting for Madigan's 32 percent tax increase I'm just disappointed in what Charlie let Springfield do to him."
Moore has called for a one-on-one public debate with Meier.
"I’d like to spend some time having a civil discussion in a venue that both Mr. Meier and myself agree, so that we can contrast our views on the problems facing Illinois in this critical time," Moore said in a statement published on his website.
Meier said there already has been a public forum, one organized by the Highland Chamber of Commerce and held last month.
But he added, "I do not have to sit next to a man who said I should be shot like a heifer...I am not going back to debate a man who wants me shot."
Moore, a Marine veteran, is running largely on last summer's tax increase vote. While Meier voted for the tax hike initially, he did not vote to over ride Rauner's unsuccessful attempt to veto the increase.
More than than $350,000 has been spent on TV spots and mailers by the two candidates. Meier has received substantial backing from the Illinois Republican Party through the House Republican Organization.
On his website, Moore complains that Meier has gone negative.
“As we approach the primary election, Mr. Meier’s tactics have turned negative,” said Moore. “This is an obvious attempt to distract voters from the substantive issues in the race, including that Mr. Meier sided with Democrat Mike Madigan to pass the largest tax hike in state history.”
The challenger has claimed his wife was followed by a private investigator and pointed the finger at his opponent. Meier denied any involvement in hiring a private investigator and said the House Republican Organization did not have anything to with the incident.
According to a Fairview Heights Police incident report, Felicia Moore called police after being followed by a white male in a 2016 blue Dodge Caravan, from Troy to a gas station in O'Fallon and then on to Fairview Heights. She also called her husband, who arrived from Edwardsville before police arrived and confronted the driver parked at Best Buy.
Moore's website also noted that "the Meier campaign has also made an issue in the press about the property tax adjustment Don Moore received as a result of the disability rating determined by the Veteran’s Administration."
“I really do feel it is an attack on veterans,” Moore said.