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Democrats square off at Sun-Times gubernatorial forum

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Democratic gubernatorial candidates Daniel Biss, Chris Kennedy and J.B. Pritzker squared off Wednesday at forum before the Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board. (WLS)

Democratic gubernatorial candidates Daniel Biss, Chris Kennedy and J.B. Pritzker squared off Wednesday at a forum before the Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board.

The candidates haven't been attacking each another much at this point in the campaign, but Pritzker and Governor Bruce Rauner self-funding their campaigns with more than $40 million each became a hot button issue.

At first, Pritzker said it was not about the money, but about values, before changing direction.

"Unfortunately, the Republicans have been in a much better position in that world to win elections, and that's one of the reason that Bruce Rauner won his election. We need to be able to compete," he said.

"Bruce Rauner put in all this money, unless Democrats pick me, he says, with my bigger checkbook, there's no way we can beat him. You can't have it both ways," said Daniel Biss.

The issue of property tax assessments, and legal but controversial ways Pritzker and Kennedy have both gotten their assessments lowered, made for the most heated moment of the forum.

Kennedy: "It doesn't have to be like this in Illinois."

Pritzker: "You sought in a very same tax break in your own home."

Kennedy: "Absolutely not. What you did was so remarkably different than anything anybody else has done."

Pritzker: "It is true that you have used the system to benefit yourself."

When the issue of taped recordings about pay to play politics came up, which Rauner has made the subject of an attack on Pritzker, he distanced himself.

"Governor Blagojevich broke the trust of the people of the state of Illinois and he's in prison where he belongs," Pritzker said.

In the end, the three leading candidates seemed to agree on one thing.

"What I think this forum showed is there's considerable difference and that will draw people into the discussion, into the process," said Kennedy.

"I think this is an important moment, a fight for the soul of the Democratic Party and a chance for us to pick the best candidate to go up against Bruce Rauner," said Biss.

"Well, I think the candidates agree on a number of things, there's no doubt about that but there are some differences between us," Pritzker said.

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politicsgubernatorial raceChicagoWest Loop
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