Gubernatorial candidate and State Sen. Sam McCann, a former Republican who is now forming his own political party, the Conservative Party, sat down with 25 News for an exclusive interview to discuss his run for the state's top office.
McCann said "they obviously don't know me," referring to opponents, and other political insiders who have floated the idea that he is being "pushed" by "the Madigan Machine."
"I'm running because I feel called to lead and I believe that you should lead through service, and quite frankly I don't believe that the people of Illinois have been served by their governors for quite sometime in this state," McCann said.
He calls the party he is forming, the Conservative Party, "110 percent" different than the Republican Party, claiming state GOP leadership "does not have a clue" or follow the party's platform.
After announcing his run for governor, he had a fallout and believes that the problem with the Illinois Republican Party is that the leadership does not follow the platform.
In May, McCann filed a federal lawsuit against Illinois Senate Republican leader, Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, for allegedly cutting access for senate support services granted to Republican members. He said that after his announcement for governor senate republicans expelled him from caucusing activities. He claimed that he was denied access to taxpayer funded resources he uses to service constituents.
McCann also talked about public employee unions and a case currently being considered right now in the Supreme Court of the United States; Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).
The monumental case names a Illinois state worker challenging one of the largest public sector employee unions over "mandatory union fees" for non-members believing the fees are unconstitutional because they are used for political activities by unions for candidates he does not support. He said that he signed to an amicus brief that supported the AFSCME position.
McCann said that he does support President Trump, although, mentioned that he does not support every statement or tweet. He added that he believes there are a lot of people that want to see the president fail because of his political party or due to some of his statements. MCann said that regardless of his actions people should support Trump because "he is leading our nation."
One of his opponents, JB Pritzker, the democratic nominee welcomed his bid, but Rauner's campaign blasted it. “I welcome another voice to the race for governor at this critical time for our state,” said JB Pritzker. Rauner's campaign responded with a different tone "Sam McCann is the worst kind of political opportunist who is only running for Governor to line his own pockets," said Rauner campaign communications director Will Allison. "“Public service should not be for personal gain and Sam McCann's new ‘campaign’ is just a thinly veiled attempt to profit off of politics.”
McCann will run with veterans' rights activist, Aaron Merreighn of Riverton, and will have to submit at least 25,000 signatures to get on the ballot in the November general election.
"We're in this to win this. I've never ran against anyone," said McCann. "I've always ran for an office, and that's what i'm running for now."