Candidates woo independent voters on weekend

October 23, 2010 (CHICAGO)

The tone of the campaign has turned distinctly negative, but both Republican Bill Brady and Democrat Pat Quinn say they and voters remain focused the issues.

Recent polls indicate the race for between incumbent Governor Quinn and challenger Brady is very close.

With a state deficit that could be close to $15 billion, jobs and the budget continue to dominate the election.

Calling himself the "jobs governor," Quinn headlined a rally Saturday morning at a church on Chicago's West Side.

As Democratic candidates urged Chicago supporters to get the vote out, Quinn once again called out Brady on the issue of getting Illinois back to work.

"My opponent has no record whatsoever of creating jobs," said Quinn. "He's been in Springfield for 17 years - he has nothing to talk about other than deregulating banks. That's what he said the other day."

Quinn said Illinois is leading the Midwest in job growth this year and predicted the $31 billion capital construction program he enacted last year will result in close to 400,000 new jobs in the next 6 years.

Brady disagreed, saying that the state has lost hundreds of thousands of jobs since Quinn took over for impeached ex-governor Rod Blagojevich.

At a Saturday campaign stop in Crystal Lake, Brady continued to push a series of business tax breaks that he says will spark hiring.

However, community activist Mark Carter questions both candidates' plans because, he says, they do not provide immediate relief for the jobless.

"We're undecided on who we want to go with. We might go green party, we might go independent, Democrat or Republican," said Carter.

Brady continued to hammer Quinn on the state's fiscal health and what could be projected to be its $15 billion deficit.

While Quinn wants to increase the state's 3-percent individual income tax rate by a percentage point, Brady wants to completely eliminate the Illinois estate tax and has proposed cutting state spending by 10 percent.

"Pat Quinn has no solution for it," said Brady. "We'll redefine the budget, meet those obligations, and have the discipline to deliver on them."

Meanwhile, Green Party candidate Rich Whitney told voters Saturday afternoon that both the Democrats and the Republicans are wrong.

"Who is the lesser evil here? There is no lesser evil," said Whitney. "Even if you think there is, if you keep voting lesser evil, year after year, election after election, the system just gets more evil."

Whitney argued that a vote for him is not a waste because it sends a message that voters in Illinois want change.

Neither Libertarian Lex Green nor independent Scott Lee Cohen had scheduled campaign activities Saturday.

Both Quinn and Brady are getting more support from political heavy hitters.

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich was just in town stumping for Brady, and former

President Bill Clinton and current President Barack Obama are set to come to Chicago next week to campaign for Quinn.

Senate candidates work to get out the vote

Republican Congressman Mark Kirk was in Evanston Saturday talking to voters at the Northwestern-Michigan State football game.

He even sported a purple Northwestern Wildcats hat for the occasion.

Kirk's message to tailgating football fans was that he is ready for the campaign's proverbial crunch time.

Kirk's main opponent for Senate, Alexi Giannoulias, joined other Democrats at a get-out-the-vote rally on the West Side.

Giannoulias told a mostly supportive audience that he wants to work for them in the same Senate seat once held by President Obama, who Giannoulias described as his mentor.

Giannoulias said Kirk's campaign represents a return to the policies of former President George W. Bush.

Time running out to register to vote

Grace period voter registration ends on Tuesday (October 26th).

You can sign up to vote at County Clerk's offices.

People who register by Friday's final deadline must vote immediately.

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