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, Aug. 21, the 233rd day of 2014. There are 132 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: Sheriff McLaughlin had the misfortune to dislocate his right shoulder some days ago when his carriage upset. He is now able to walk about but has a very sore shoulder. 1889 -- 125 years ago: A kindergarten was started in the downtown district of Rock Island with the Misses Dodie Hawes and Grace Knowlton as teachers. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Pope Pius X died in Rome. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Rock Island's new theater was named Esquire. 1964 -- 50 years ago: The J.I. Case Co. plant in Bettendorf will add from 150 to 200 employees by Jan. 1 a spokesman for the company said today. The Bettendorf Works today had a payroll of 1,350, but an increased production schedule will require additional people. 1989 -- 25 years ago: The Illowa Council Boy Scouts of America reached and passed its campaign goal in a drive that began 14 months ago by raising more than $2.2 million for the expansion of Loud Thunder Reservation near Andalusia.