Only 16 days remain until election day, and Quinn and Brady got personal Sunday night.
The debate was sponsored by Elmhurst College and WBEZ radio. It was a full house; even the balcony was packed. Those watching the debate heard about an hour and a half of attacks, and both candidates managed to weave former governor Rod Blagojevich into the debate.
The obligatory handshake at the beginning of the debate was the end of any friendliness between Gov. Pat Quinn and State Sen. Bill Brady. The first question asked of both gubernatorial candidates was, 'What is they first thing you would do as governor to create jobs in Illinois?' The state has an unemployment rate of more than 10 percent.
The candidates answered in the form of attacks, which set the tone for the night.
"Under my opponent's tenure, we've lost over 200,000 jobs," Brady said.
"I think the question is what one thing would you want in a governor? Someone who has common sense, not nonsense," said Quinn.
The political sparring continued, especially when Brady was asked about how he could be against short-term borrowing for the state when he mortgaged his own home to save his real estate development company.
That question gave Quinn an opening to attack Brady several times on votes Quinn claimed Brady made as state senator that allegedly helped Brady's business.
"He used his voting power, his voting button, to vote on bills to help himself, to line his own pocket. That's a conflict of interest. We already have two governors who've disappointed us. One is in jail, and one is going to jail. We don't need a walking conflict of interest," said Quinn.
"You know well, governor, that I do not vote, and never have knowingly voted, a conflict of interest. You though, by the way, are the same governor that told us Rod Blagojevich, your partner, to save your job four years ago, was the most decent and honorable man you had met, and I quote you," Brady said.
Questions about the state's crisis and a deal cut with the unions were talked about, as well. But left out of Sunday night's debate was Green Party candidate Rich Whitney. Candidates are invited to appear based on their poll numbers. Whitney's numbers, apparently, were not high enough.
"The only reason that Pat Quinn is getting people to vote for him is that he's not Bill Brady, and the only reason Bill Brady is getting people to vote for him is because he's not Pat Quinn. And guess what? I'm not either one of them, and I have real answers. So, this is an outrage," Whitney told ABC7 Chicago.
Two more debates are scheduled between Quinn and Brady, and Whitney said he expectedly to be left out of those, as well. He did say, however, he would do everything he could to participate.
If Sunday night's debate is any indication, the remaining two debates will probably be just as ugly.
ABC7 Chicago and the League of Women Voters are teaming up to broadcast debates in the races for governor and the Senate. The debate between candidates for governor will be broadcast on ABC7 Wednesday at 10:35 p.m. The debate also will be broadcast live at 7 p.m. that night on ABC7's secondary channel, 7.2, and here on ABC7Chicago.com.
The Senate debate will air Tuesday at 10:35 p.m. It can also be seen live that night at 7 p.m. on 7.2 and on here online.