Republican candidates for Illinois governor meet in 1st formal debate

Saying it's time for a change in leadership, all four Republican candidates for governor squared off in a debate downstate Thursday night.
January 23, 2014 8:48:43 PM PST
Saying it's time for a change in leadership, all four Republican candidates for governor squared off in a debate downstate. The Republican candidates held their first formal debate in Peoria Thursday night.

"All of us can agree on one thing: Pat Quinn has got to go," said Sen. Kirk Dillard.

For the second time this month, all four candidates-- including self-described frontrunner Bruce Rauner-- showed up for an event. And again, a question concerned who was most electable in a fall contest against incumbent Democrat Pat Quinn.

"I am a reasonable Republican, that's why I win," said State Treasurer Dan Rutherford.

"We need to finish the job we started four years ago and win all 102 counties," said State Sen. Bill Brady.

Only Sen. Kirk Dillard went negative during his answer, explaining why, in his view, the wealthy businessman Rauner would be a loser in November.

"The drip, drip, drip of stories day in and day out about Mr. Rauner's business dealings and will wash away our chances as a party to ever get rid of Pat Quinn in November," said Sen. Dillard.

For one of the few times during the campaign, Rauner held a news conference and responded to Dillard's drip, drip, drip theory.

"I'll be attacked, I have been attacked pretty much for a year. And now, the intensity of the attacks is just going to go up. And that's because my message is a threatening one to the powers that be," said Rauner.

Mr. Rauner usually does not appear with the other candidates in forums, however he has agreed to appear in other formal debates before the election on March 18.

All four Republican candidates have agreed to participate in a debate sponsored by ABC7, the League of Women Voters and Univision. That one-hour debate will take place on ABC7 next month.

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