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Ill. term limit supporters halfway to 2014 ballot

Published: Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013 11:02 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013 2:30 p.m. CDT

EVANSTON – A group pushing to establish term limits for Illinois lawmakers said Thursday it's more than halfway to its goal of putting the measure on the 2014 ballot.

The Committee for Legislative Reform and Term Limits announced it has gathered more than 150,000 of the nearly 300,000 petition signatures needed to get on the ballot next November.

The proposed constitutional amendment would limit legislators to eight years in office. It also would cut the size of the Senate from 59 members to 41, expand the House from 118 to 123 members and make it tougher for the Legislature to override a governor's veto.

The issue could help Republicans next fall by motivating voters who are fed up with Illinois' Democrat-controlled state government to go to the polls.

And it could particularly benefit Bruce Rauner, a GOP candidate for governor who also is chairman of the term limits political action committee.

The wealthy businessman from Winnetka – the only political newcomer in the Republican primary – is using the term limits campaign to help boost his visibility and reinforce his message that it's time to "take back Springfield" by getting rid of career politicians.

Rauner faces three opponents in the March primary: state Sens. Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard and state Treasurer Dan Rutherford. The winner will take on Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn.

In an emailed statement, Rauner said the term limits effort is "gaining serious momentum." The committee says it collected more than 77,000 signatures in the first three weeks of November – more than in September and October combined.

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