Illinois Opportunity Project leader joins Rauner campaign push
Gov. Bruce Rauner's campaign committee has hired Matt Besler, president of the Illinois Opportunity Project, as its chief adviser, the non-profit advocacy announced on Monday.
Besler will work for Citizens for Rauners Inc. on the governor's re-election campaign as well as with the Illinois Republican Party and Senate and House GOP organizations. His knowledge of the state's political landscape and issues is expected to be an asset to Rauner's 2018 bid.
"The work we've done on policy and political advocacy over the past three election cycles and the progress we've made in that time must culminate with Gov. Rauner's re-election in 2018 and an end to Speaker (Mike) Madigan's reign in the House," Besler said in the announcement. "I've enjoyed a great working relationship with both the House and Senate GOP caucuses and their staffs. I look forward to that continuing in furtherance of the electoral goals we share for the 2018 cycle."
Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider, House Minority Leader Jim Durkin and Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady released a joint statement praising the move.
“We are excited to work with Matt towards our shared goal of turning around Illinois by re-electing Governor Rauner and electing more Illinois Republicans to the General Assembly and Congress," they said in the statement. "The Illinois Republican Party and the House and Senate Republicans’ political organizations believe in service to the common good and are committed to advancing the principles of freedom, opportunity, and limited government. A proven strategist, Matt Besler will be instrumental in the realization of those ideals.”
Illinois Opportunity Project co-founder Pat Hughes will serve as interim president during Besler's leave of absence.
"We congratulate IOP President Matt Besler on his new position as chief strategic advisor to Citizens for Rauner Inc.," the group said in a statement. "His strong leadership and strategic vision have been critical to the expansion of the liberty movement in Illinois."
State Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) expressed her approval for the appointment.
“I am confident that the addition of Matt Besler to Governor Rauner’s re-election campaign will strengthen the focus on the many ways in which Illinois’ policies and political culture has hurt families and businesses,” Ives said. “I have worked with Matt Besler and his team at Illinois Opportunity Project for the last six years. In the political arena, where it is hard to trust anyone, Matt and his team have earned my trust. They understand the impact that policy has on people’s lives, as well as it’s potential to transform lives. Matt’s work ethic is second to none. His integrity is beyond reproach. I look forward to working with him in his new work toward our mutual goals of electoral success and the expansion of liberty and prosperity in Illinois.”