SPRINGFIELD — State Treasurer Dan Rutherford left little doubt Wednesday that he’s running for governor in 2014.

The Republican from Chenoa told the Lee Springfield Bureau that he will make an announcement about his political future “at the appropriate time.”

Asked whether he’d be making an announcement about his political future or, more specifically, a gubernatorial bid, Rutherford said, “I think they are one in the same.”

His comments came as plans were being laid in Rutherford’s home county of Livingston to launch a “Draft Dan” for governor movement.

In an email message to GOP leaders on Monday, Livingston County Republican Party chairman John McGlasson said Rutherford would be speaking at the county party’s annual Lincoln-Reagan Day dinner on Feb. 18.

“What a great thing it would be if Livingston County could have a `favorite son’ leading the state of Illinois,” McGlasson wrote.

Rutherford, who observed the swearing-in ceremonies Wednesday for the Illinois Senate, where he previously served, said he won’t be making a formal announcement of his candidacy at the dinner.

“Let’s just say that we will be making an announcement at the appropriate time,” Rutherford said, adding, “I appreciate my home county being willing to help add a lot of energy to the movement.”

Rutherford, who is serving his first term as treasurer, is among at least five potential Republican candidates eyeing a bid for governor next year.

State Sen. Kirk Dillard, R-Hinsdale, said in November he’s planning to make another run after coming in second in the 2010 GOP primary. The winner of that race, state Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington, also is mulling another bid.

U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock of Peoria is making rumblings about a run, as is venture capitalist Bruce Rauner of Winnetka.

Rutherford’s comments are not the first signal he’s made about his ambition to become governor.

In December, Rutherford launched a fundraising effort on his campaign website by asking voters to endorse him as a candidate for governor.

He earlier said he would not make a formal announcement until after the Jan. 21 presidential swearing-in ceremonies.

Contact Erickson at kurt.erickson@lee.net or 217-782-4043.

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