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Can Rauner deliver on the hype?

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Gov. Bruce Rauner.

CHICAGO (AP) – Bruce Rauner became a Republican rock star when he unseated a Democratic governor in left-leaning Illinois, pledging to run the state in the mold of GOP darlings Scott Walker and Mitch Daniels.

As he takes office this month, many are wondering: Can he deliver on the hype?

There are reasons to believe the answer is no. Unlike Walker in Wisconsin and Daniels in Indiana, Illinois has deep financial problems and an overwhelmingly Democratic Legislature.

Rauner and others insist that divided government won’t mean gridlock, but rather the dynamic needed to end years of legislative nearparalysis.

If so, Illinois could be a notable outlier in a polarized nation of red and blue states. It could also help Republicans figure out how to become relevant again in an increasingly Democratic place.

By SARA BURNETT, Associated Press