CHICAGO (WLS) -- The battle to win the Republican primary for Illinois governor is heating up as the candidates head down the stretch to the June 28 showdown. They squared off in a forum hosted by the Daily Herald Editorial Board on Wednesday.
Looking to court Chicagoland voters unhappy with how their children are being educated, Jesse Sullivan took a shot at unions and so-called "woke ideology."
"Talking about sexuality and gender identity in the curriculum, kindergarten through third grade," Sullivan said. "That we believe is wrong, that you should not be doing that. That's the place of parents and a certain set of values."
Joined by parents and former teachers, Sullivan took aim at the Chicago Teachers Union in particular, which he called radical.
Sullivan is calling for school choice and returning power to parents, along with a ban on political giving by teachers unions.
CTU Vice President Stacy Davis Gates said this amounts to an attack on women, who make up 80% of its ranks.
"Jesse Sullivan will have more of a headline today for his attacking women that he does for anything that's visionary about his platform," Davis Gates said. "And so this is a stunt."
But while Sullivan was playing offense, he was also on the defensive when it comes to an ad by Richard Irvin attacking his service with the military. The ad states "Jesse Sullivan repeatedly implied he is a combat veteran knowing full well he was not in the military."
Sullivan launched his own ad in response, stating, "Jesse Sullivan was an army civilian deployed by the Department of Defense to Afghanistan."
On Wednesday, Sullivan calling Irvin a lying, professional politician.
"He is way too liberal for the conservative base," Sullivan said. "So what does he do? He tells lies and he uses millions and millions and millions of dollars to tell those lies."
As the Republicans went after one another at the Daily Herald forum, Darren Bailey and Irvin also accused one another of lying.
Irvin's campaign defending the ad against Sullivan, saying it tells voters all they need to know about Sullivan.
Sullivan said that he did serve alongside soldiers, even though he was in Afghanistan as a civilian intelligence analyst.