Gubernatorial candidates court female vote

October 29, 2010 (CHICAGO)

Governor Pat Quinn Friday said his Republican opponent Bill Brady is wearing a Halloween costume, masquerading as a moderate to hide his extreme rightwing positions in the past.

The Republican rejected any label for himself and accused the governor of repeating lies about Brady's position on women's issues.

The importance of the female vote is not lost on Republican State Senator Bill Brady. He met Friday morning on the Southwest Side with leaders of the Federation of Women Contractors, promising them that a Brady administration would preserve set-asides for women and minority-owned state contractors.

"We would want to make sure that you were supportive of that and would really push that agenda," said Beth Doria, Federation of Women Contractors.

"We are very much in support of minority businesses...that's how we're here today," said Brady.

But Democratic incumbent Pat Quinn says Brady's record on affirmative action-related bills in the Illinois Senate would suggest otherwise. Quinn staffers cite a Brady vote in the House against the Minority and Female Franchise Act in 1993.

"It's near Halloween, and there's no question that Senator Brady is trying to have an extreme makeover. I think he's trying to play the role of a moderate, when he's had the lifetime role as an extreme person," Quinn said.

"Governor Quinn's got to realize it doesn't matter how many times he repeats a lie, it doesn't make it true," said Brady.

In recent general elections, more than half the people who cast votes were female. Earlier this week, as she endorsed Governor Quinn, Democratic Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez praised the governor's stand on issues affecting women.

"He has the heart to look out for everyone, including the women and children and all of us here, not only in Cook County but in the entire state," Alvarez said.

The Federation of Women Contractors has not endorsed any candidate for governor. The director says she'll take Brady at his word that he will support affirmative action if elected. If he does not, she says, he will pay a politician's price.

"If they lie and if they go back on their word then there's a test, and it's every four years," said Doria.

Both Brady and Quinn have busy weekends scheduled, especially on Saturday night. The governor will introduce President Barack Obama at a rally in Hyde Park, while Senator Brady will attend a Republican rally in Northbrook.

Both sides are revving up their "get out the vote machines." The governor visited a Democratic party phone bank at a South Side union hall Friday afternoon. They claim to have made over 400,000 phone calls already.

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