Only two of the five candidates to be listed on the November 2nd ballot were invited to the debate that started at 8:00 a.m.
Democrat Quinn and Republican Brady have major differences in how they would restore the state's economic health. Both laid claim to being, or wanting to be, "the jobs governor."
"I'm the jobs governor," said Quinn. "This one is a pretender."
"We need a real jobs governor, we need a real jobs plan," said Brady. "Businesses are looking for stability."
Brady quickly attacked the governor's inability to resolve the state's $13 billion dollar deficit.
"You've had 20 months to implement those plans and unfortunately, our state has been pushed into a position where we have the worst bond rating of any state in the nation because of record deficits and debt," said Brady.
Then, Quinn snapped at Brady's plan to cut spending 10% across the board.
"We've got to have a governor who understands that you need common sense, not nonsense, when it comes to the budget," said Quinn.
"We need real discipline, we can cut a dime on every dollar like businesses have done," said Brady.
"We've already cut the state budget by more than 10 percent," said Quinn.
Green Party candidate Rich Whitney protested the debate. Despite getting 10.5 percent of the actual vote in 2006, he was not invited to the Union League debate because he did not score ten percent in pre-election polls.
"It's disrespectful to the voters to deprive them of an opportunity of all candidates' point of view put to the test of debate," said Whitney.
"Mr. Whitney's most recent polling doesn't come up to that threshold, so therefore he was ineligible to participate," said David Kohn of the Union League Club.
In his post-debate news conference, Brady confirmed he will not exempt education from planned state spending cuts.
"What I've said is every area of state government is going to have to share in reconciling state spending within our means," said Brady. "As governor, I'll provide the fiscal discipline to do that."
Quinn, who wants a one percent income tax surcharge for schools, held firm.
"We need to invest in education - we need revenue for education," said Quinn. "We wanna have good schools, good teachers."
Quinn and Brady have other debates between now and Election Day. They both will attend a televised debate on ABC7 on October 20th starting at 10:35 p.m.
The Democrat and Republican will be joined on the ballot by the Whitney, the Libertarian Party's Lex Green, and independent Scott Lee Cohen.
Whitney got more than 350,000 votes when he ran for governor in November 2006. He makes the point that is more than twice as many votes as Bill Brady received in two Republican primaries.