You can always tell who's in the lead by who is the target of the most verbal punches. And on Tuesday night, the frontrunner was compared to an infamous former governor who's now in prison.
"There's no question Mr. Rauner is trying to buy this race," said State Sen. Bill Brady.
It was "beat up on Bruce" night, with three of the candidates taking aim the self-financed, first-time candidate who leads in the polls.
"That kind of rhetoric by Mr. Rauner is over the top and it's one of the thousands of reasons the man is unelectable," said State Sen. Kirk Dillard.
"The more I hear Bruce Rauner speak, the more he sounds like Rod Blagojevich," said Sen. Brady.
Senators Kirk Dillard and Bill Brady, along with Treasurer Dan Rutherford, argue Rauner's promises are all show and no go.
"The government union bosses are influencing our politicians. I'm the one person who is financially independent, can stand up to these folks and transform government," said Rauner.
What's the difference, Rauner was asked, between a union boss and business leader donating for influence? Aren't both wrong?
"The business folks who want a special deal, it is. If they're advocating for lower taxes for everybody, it's not," said Rauner.
Lightning round now: All support the ability to own assault weapons, all would bring back the death penalty for the most heinous crimes and all but Bill Brady said they are open to a Chicago casino, with conditions.
"You've got to be able to tell the Mayor of Chicago 'no'," said Sen. Dillard.
Treasurer Dan Rutherford continues to refuse to release a taxpayer funded investigation into a claim he sexually harassed a male employee.
"No, the report is not going to be released," said Rutherford.
Moments later, Rutherford, who has shared hotel rooms with male subordinates, was asked whether he'd let a same sex couple stay in the governor's mansion?
"In their own rooms," said Rutherford.
Back to Bruce Rauner, for all of his talk of wanting to oust career politicians and loosen Mike Madigan's tight grip on the levers of power, Rauner is giving a lot of money to incumbent Republican legislators around the state. And we learned Tuesday night Rauner recently had breakfast with House Speaker Madigan.