GOP gubernatorial candidates go after perceived frontrunner, Bruce Rauner

With the primary election less than two weeks away, all four Republican candidates in the race for Illinois governor squared off for a second night in a row.
March 5, 2014 8:29:36 PM PST
With the primary election less than two weeks away, all four Republican candidates in the race for Illinois governor squared off for a second night in a row on Wednesday.

Three days into early voting, the elbows are getting sharper. Bill Brady attacked Kirk Dillard, Dillard attacked Brady, and everyone went after perceived front-runner Bruce Rauner.

Political outsider, or pay-to-play financier? On Wednesday night, Bruce Rauner's opponents painted him as the latter.

"Putting Bruce in charge of Springfield is sort of like putting a rat in charge of the cheese," said State Sen. Kirk Dillard.

"We need someone we know about. We don't know about Bruce Rauner. Yeah, he spent a lot of money trying to tell us that he's the guy," said State Sen. Bill Brady.

Rauner was asked how his daughter was admitted to Chicago's Walter Payton College Prep even though his family was living in Winnetka.

Rauner: "I would do it again, to call up and get our daughter on the principal's discretionary list. She was perfectly qualified."
Moderator: "What about New Trier? Why not New Trier? You were in Winnetka, right?"
Rauner: "We had bought a condo downtown in Chicago, so my wife could take over as CEO of her early-childhood educational organization. We were spending a great deal of time downtown."

Brady: "Did your wife ever register to vote in Chicago?"
Rauner: "No. We still have our residence. We own a home in Winnetka."
Brady: "You just said you moved to Chicago, so she could live there and spend more time."
Rauner: "Right. We spend a tremendous amount of time in Chicago."

Rauner also went on the offensive, accusing Dillard of being too closely tied to public sector unions.

"Why are you running in the Republican primary? I think you should be running in the Democratic primary. You've taken more government union money from the government union bosses in the last ten years than John Cullerton," said Rauner.

"A third of the people of these unions that he likes to demonize are Republican primary voters," said Dillard.

State Treasurer Dan Rutherford largely avoided making attacks, but repeated his refusal to release the results of a taxpayer-funded investigation into sexual harassment claims by a male employee, citing his attorney's advice.

Rutherford: "This is the counsel I've been provided, and that's the way it's going to be."
Moderator: "If it were up to you, what would you do?"
Rutherford: "I would love to have it released, so then we don't have to go through this question as you said earlier to me, would that perhaps put us behind it? Yes it would."

It's customary for other assembled media to get a few minutes with the candidates after these debates, but for the third time in less than a week, Rutherford left without taking questions.

Rauner also didn't stick around. It was the same story at Tuesday night's debate, and not unusual for the perceived frontrunner.

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