GOP candidates for governor take shots at each other

January 29, 2010 4:33:10 AM PST
In the Republican race for governor, candidates are spending the final days of their campaigns taking aim at each other. New salvos were fired Thursday over a state Republican party investigation into one of the candidates.

"Andy McKenna should withdraw from the race if he will not answer these questions," said Jim Ryan, (R) candidate for Governor.

The questions Ryan wants answered concern how Andy McKenna, the former state party chairman, may have used his position to unfairly manipulate the Republican race before McKenna entered it.

The relatively cash-short Ryan took aim at the multi-millionaire McKenna, who has outspent the rest of the field by a wide margin.

"What candidates do that have this much money, they create a virtual reality, they create a parallel universe," Ryan said.

McKenna, who recent polls suggest is either at or near the top of the six candidate gubernatorial pack, unleashed new commercials this week attacking two other frontrunners: Senator Kirk Dillard and Ryan.

"Dillard voted to raise taxes asking 'What's the big deal?' Jim Ryan supported raising taxes by $5 billion," a female voice says in the ad.

Dillard, who months ago vowed not to run negative ads, responded Wednesday with his own commercial targeting McKenna.

"Andrew McKenna compounded one ethical mistake with another. Sound familiar? No wonder McKenna's running a nasty, negative campaign," another female voice says in Dillard's ad.

"It's a response to a variety of ads that have been running against me that distort my record on taxes, obviously," said State Sen. Kirk Dillard, (R) candidate for governor.

Senator Bill Brady of Bloomington expressed his glee that the opponents he calls "Chicago politicians" were pointing out each others faults.

"I'm just glad to be the one candidate that doesn't have any of the weaknesses that everyone's pointing out. That's how we hope to move to victory," Brady said.

Businessman and candidate Dan Proft described the infighting as the way traditional politicians usually treat the last days of a campaign.

"They don't have any ideas to promote themselves, so this is, you know, 'I'm less worse than that guy.' That's essentially what they're arguing, 'He's a bad guy, I'm less bad'. Less bad is not going to get us home this time around," said Proft.

The negative ads will likely continue until the Republican campaign ends next Tuesday. And unlike at the beginning of the race, McKenna will have plenty of company on the air during the closing days.

The McKenna campaign says they have already addressed Jim Ryan's allegations and the Illinois Republican party won't release the full report.