Top 3 Democrat candidates for governor square off in final debate

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Wednesday night's final debate for the Democrats less than a week before the March 20 primary was also the first time that only the top three candidates squared off. (WLS)

Wednesday night's final debate for the Democrats less than a week before the March 20 primary was also the first time that only the top three candidates squared off.

There were some spirited exchanges over tax shelters, negative TV ads and property tax issues as JB Pritzker, Chris Kennedy and Daniel Biss threw punches and counterpunches in their last debate.

The candidates let loose with accusations of lies and deceptions. One focus was negative TV ads.

"All the way up until January we were all about issues in this campaign, and then who went on the attack? Bruce Rauner, Daniel Biss and Chris Kennedy, they went up on the air first," Pritzker said.

"When you can't win by telling the truth about yourself, sometimes you have to tell lies about competitors in order to win. That's what he's doing," Kennedy countered.

"These two have been on the attack-" Pritzker interjected.

"Lie, lie, lie, lie, lie," Kennedy replied.

Pritzker found himself repeatedly on the defensive over a Chicago Tribune report suggesting he was being dishonest about his offshore holdings and trusts that provide tax shelters.

"Remember, those trusts are focused on charitable donations so any distributions that are made go entirely to charity," he said.

"We just heard this unbelievable mess of word salad in an effort to distract us from what we learned from the Trib this morning," Biss replied.

"If they'll lie to you to get the job, they'll lie to you to keep the job and you do not want a liar as the governor of the state of Illinois," Kennedy said.

On the issue of whether Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios should be reelected, Pritzker dodged the questions, setting up a frenzied exchange.

"We can sit and let these two guys keep on fighting until eight o'clock about who scammed the property tax system or we can pick someone who hasn't scammed the property tax system," Biss said.

Biss also came under fire for recent campaign donations and his plan to tax financial transactions.

The candidates will continue to reach out to voters personally and with ads that will continue to burn up the airwaves for the next six days.

The most recent polls suggest a third of voters are still undecided, so the race is far from over.
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politicsprimary electionelection 2018governordebatedemocrats
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