GOP candidates for gov. hold debate

November 5, 2009 (CHICAGO) Under spotlights with a dramatic fanfare blaring in the background, the seven contenders entered the ballroom with a shared promise to cut government spending and not to raise taxes.

"To raise taxes during the worst economic turn-down since the Great Depression would be a poison pill for business in this state," said Jim Ryan, (R) candidate for governor.

"Balancing the budget is not only constitutional but it's going to require cuts, cuts and more spending cuts," said Adam Andrzejewski, (R) candidate for governor.

One candidate's cure for the Illinois budget deficit was to lower taxes.

"Fifty percent cut in the state income tax, 50 percent cut in the corporate income tax, eliminate the estate tax," said Dan Proft, (R) candidate for governor.

Another made his position was clear on legalizing the concealed carry of handguns.

"As governor of this state, I hope to give our citizens, law abiding citizens, the same right as 48 other states do…an educated right to conceal and carry," said Sen. Bill Brady, (R) candidate for governor.

On Wednesday night, five of the candidates appeared at a debate sponsored by an ultra-conservative "tea party" group in Will County. The lean to the right continued on Thursday night's event. As Kirk Dillard tried to put distance between himself and the healthcare policies of his former Illinois Senate colleague and friend, now-president Barack Obama.

"As governor, I'll be damned if I'm going to let a socialistic Washington shove a new mandate down the taxpayers' throats of Illinois," said Sen. Kirk Dillard, (R) candidate for governor.

The candidates rarely mentioned each other and there were no direct disagreements during the so-called debate.

The state Republican chairman expressed confidence in the party's chance to recapture the governor's office in 2010.

"I think the Democrats have created a great opportunity for us. Single party Democratic rule has run the state into the ground. It's time for a change and I think the voters see that," said Pat Brady, Illinois Republican chairman.

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