GOP candidates for gov argue over budget cuts

January 27, 2010 4:28:49 AM PST
On February 2, Illinois voters will choose a Republican nominee for governor. Five of the six candidates met in a debate Tuesday night that included some heated exchanges.A new poll reveals there's no clear frontrunner.

Five of the six candidates debated Tuesday night and there were some heated exchanges.

The five Republicans in Tuesday night's debate were all in agreement over cutting the state budget to relieve the fiscal crisis. But they were arguing over who would cut it most.

State senator Bill Brady says he could do it in the first year with a 10 percent across the board cut.

"I know how to make the cuts that need to be made," said Sen. Brady, Republican candidate for governor.

"The 10 percent cut is intellectually lazy," said Dan Proft, Republican candidate for governor.

"We have to get control of our spending before we even think about raising taxes," said Jim Ryan, Republican candidate for governor.

Like the Democrats running for governor, recent polls show the Republican race for the nomination is too close to calll. And like the Democrats Monday night, there was plenty of sniping at each other.

"I'll do a forensic audit, there's a lot of corruption there," said Adam Andrzejewski, Republican candidate for governor.

"Adam needs a forensic audit because he's someone who doesn't understand government," said Brady.

One new poll out has state senator Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale leading but with four others close behind.

Earlier Tuesday, Dillard emphasized his ties to his old boss, bringing out former governor Jim Edgar for a joint appearance in which they urged McKenna to stop negative advertising.

"We are again in the silly season of the campaign," said Edgar.

McKenna, former chairman of the Illinois Republican Party, was downstate Tuesday night, the only candidate skipping the debate. He took a lot of heat for his role in a poll funded by the party that asked about McKenna's chances as a statewide candidate.

"I got a copy of that poll and made it public and that's why the party investigated," said Proft.

And although he wasn't there, McKenna has been blasting Dillard for endorsing Democrat Barack Obama during the 2008 primary election season.

Dillard again defended himself on that Tuesday night.

Andy McKenna's aides said he did not attend Tuesday night's debate because he was campaigning in central Illinois. But WTTW TV pointed out the invitations to the event were sent out back in mid-November. McKenna has been accused of ducking appearances recently so he wouldn't have to answer questions about that polling controversy.