Illinois Democrats rally at Chairman's Brunch at State Fair

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WLS) -- Illinois Democrats rallied on Thursday in Springfield on their day at the State Fair.

They have one primary goal for next year's election and that is to take back the governor's office.

Their key strategy? Attack Governor Bruce Rauner.

Just the mention of Gov. Rauner's name had the record crowd of 1800 Democrats booing at the annual Illinois State Fair Chairman's Brunch on Thursday and throughout the morning party leaders played on that sentiment.

"The important message is after the primary, we need to come together as a party and realize what the goal is here, in terms of a new governor in our state," said U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D).

"This group of 1800 would tell you that we've had no organizers ever that have been as good to the Democratic Party as Bruce Rauner and Donald Trump," said Illinois Rep. Lou Lang (D) of Skokie.

Part of that effort clearly will involve trying to capitalize on anti-Trump sentiments.

"Too many people sat on the sideline during the last election and that resulted in the election of Donald Trump, people are outraged now by his behavior and his lack of moral leadership and they want to get involved and take control of the future of our state," said gubernatorial candidate Chris Kennedy.

"We're here today so they can hear us and that we can all pull together because we've got to in order to beat Bruce Rauner in 2018," said gubernatorial candidate JB Pritzker.

With the gubernatorial race expected to see record spending, perhaps over $300 million, State Sen. Daniel Biss (D) took a shot at his wealthy rivals.

"Are we going to be a billionaire party or are we going to be a middle class party? Are we going to be a corporate party or are we going to be a people's party? Are we going to have ourselves an election or are we going to hold an auction," said gubernatorial candidate Daniel Biss.

Democrats cancelled the usual rally they would have held on the fairgrounds after the brunch, but believe they have their battle cry now for the months ahead.

"We will run on a record to elect a democratic governor," said Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan.

Many of the Democratic party leaders are still waiting to make an endorsement for governor, but those will likely come in the weeks ahead, setting the stage for what could be a very negative campaign for the state's highest office next year.
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