MOLINE -- State Treasurer Dan Rutherford said he won't be forced out of the Republican gubernatorial primary by "politically motivated" allegations that he sexually harassed an employee.
The allegations were made by Edmund Michalowski, Mr. Rutherford's former director of community affairs and marketing, and have become the subject of a federal lawsuit.
"I am totally convinced that it's a political move to try and keep me from getting the nomination," Mr. Rutherford told the editorial board of The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus during a conference call on Wednesday.
The allegations emerged five weeks before the March 18 primary, and Mr. Rutherford said they were timed to do him maximum damage.
He said he launched an investigation and planned to release the results but couldn't once the lawsuit was filed. "There's no way I'm backing out of this race," he added.
Mr. Rutherford is competing in the Republican gubernatorial primary with venture capitalist Bruce Rauner and state senators Kirk Dillard and Bill Brady. Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat, is running for re-election and is expected to face the winner of the GOP primary.
Mr. Rutherford said he believes he's best equipped to beat Gov. Quinn because he's the only one of the Republican candidates to have won a statewide election.
He said that as treasurer he has seen the "dark ugly side of the belly of the beast" when it comes to state finances and will use that knowledge to put the state budget on a firmer footing.
He said he did not support the pension reform bill that state officials estimate will save $145 billion over 30 years by cutting future benefits. Mr. Rutherford believes the legislation is unconstitutional and could be thrown out by the courts.
He's concerned about spending on Medicaid, the health care program for the poor, and, like his GOP rivals, said the state must aggressively move to throw ineligible participants off the rolls.
If he is elected governor, Mr. Rutherford said he would focus on small and medium sized businesses and act as "chief marketing officer" for the state.
Mr. Rutherford was born in Pontiac and has served in the Illinois House and Senate. He was elected state treasurer in 2010.
Today is Thursday, July 31, the 212th day of 2014. There are 153 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: A corps of surgeons now occupies the new hospital quarters at the Garrison Hospital on the Rock Island Arsenal. A fence has been installed to enclose the prison hospital. 1889 -- 125 years ago: B. Winter has let a contract to Christ Schreiner for a two story brick building with a double store front on the south side of 3rd Avenue just west of 17th Street. The estimated cost was $4,500. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Germany sent simultaneous ultimatums to Russia and France, demanding that Russia suspend mobilization within 12 hours and demanding that France inform Germany within 18 hours. In the case of war between Germany and Russia, France would remain neutral. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Civil service offices at the post office and the Rock Island Arsenal were swamped as more than 700 youths sought 15 machinist apprenticeships at the Arsenal. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Last night, American Legion Post 246 in Moline figuratively handed over the trousers to a female ex-Marine and petticoat rule began. Olga Swanson, of Moline, was installed as the first woman commander of the post . 1989 -- 25 years ago: The Illinois Quad City Civic Center captured the excitement and interest of a convention of auditorium managers this weekend in Reno, Nev. Bill Adams, civic center authority chairman, said the 10,000-seat arena planned for downtown Moline has caught the eye of construction firms, suppliers, management teams and concession groups.