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Question of the day

Thursday, Oct 29, 2009 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Yesterday, I asked you to submit questions to Republican gubernatorial candidates. Later in the day, I e-mailed almost all of the campaigns (I absent-mindedly omitted Jim Ryan, but I’ll post any response he has) and asked them to pick one or two questions and provide us a detailed response. I also asked the two top Democratic candidates for their responses.

Here they are, with the questions in bold to make this easier to read…

* Sen. Kirk Dillard…

How do you give the Republican Party a better chance than your opponents of winning in November?

I give the Republican Party the best chance of winning in November because my unique experience in all three branches of Government will enable me to bring more jobs to Illinois, balance our State budget, and clean up Springfield. As Governor Jim Edgar’s Chief of Staff I helped manage state government during a recession. We inherited a mountain of debt, balanced the budget and left a surplus of $1.6 billion all without an income tax increase. My plan to create a “Destination Economy” will be the most aggressive job creation program in state history.

I have the privilege of having been educated and having lived in all regions of the state – Chicago, the suburbs and downstate. The amount of fundraising and volunteer support I have received from across the state shows that I am not a regional candidate. While I am a suburbanite, I have strong downstate roots and am the best Republican candidate to attract minorities, Reagan Democrats and Independent voters to the party. Last, my ability to work with all types and factions is absolutely essential to passing important reforms and creating new jobs in Illinois.

* Andy McKenna…

[Note from Rich: This was sent by McKenna’s staff, so it’s unfair to make the suggestion as some have in comments that McKenna is referring to himself in the third person.]

1. - Anon - Wednesday, Oct 28, 09 @ 11:31 am: How do you give the Republican Party a better chance than your opponents of winning in November?

A. After decades of political insiders controlling the levers of power in Springfield, Illinois, families are looking for an outsider like Andy McKenna who has the personal integrity and business background to revitalize our economy and put our house back in order.

Andy’s charitable and civic contributions prove he possesses a selfless commitment to his community and belief that everyone deserves a fair shot.

These qualities provide a credible alternative to either Democratic candidate who both represent the tax and spend ways that have dominated Springfield for far too long.

Andy is committed to reigning in out of control government spending, holding the line on taxes, growing good-paying jobs, and cleaning up the ethical mess in Springfield.

It is clear that whoever the Democratic nominee is will have to contend with the 3 issues: 1.) that they want to raise taxes; 2.) the Blagojevich factor; and 3.) the over-zealous spending that has occurred under the watch of Democrats.

If Republicans nominate a candidate for governor that is indistinguishable on these issues they will not be successful in 2010.

Andy McKenna is a true outsider who does not have ties to special interests and has the proven ability to stand up for what he believes is right and fix the mess in Springfield

* DuPage County Board President Bob Schillerstrom…

Q: What are some successes in your professional life that indicate how you will govern should you be elected?

A: I think that the most compelling reason to vote for me for Governor is the successful record that I have built as the Chairman of a county larger than six states. I’ve demonstrated over eleven years a commitment to efficient, well-run government that provides a high level of service to its residents. That stands in stark contrast to the manner in which the state of Illinois has been run.

Under my leadership, DuPage County has cut property taxes seven out of the last ten years, balanced our budget every year, maintained the highest possible bond rating- AAA, and cut wasteful spending to the point that our current proposed budget is less than it was in 2002. We have developed successful public-private partnerships to encourage job growth, expand access to healthcare and reduce the cost of prescription drugs. My record over the last decade shows that I have the skills and the will necessary to get our state back on track and provides a good indication of how I would govern if elected Governor.

Q: How do you give the Republican Party a better chance than your opponents of winning in November?

A: I agree with a number of my primary opponents that the Republican nominee must provide a stark contrast to the Democrats in order to win in November. But, I think the best way to do that is to provide a contrast in records and results. The Democrats have had absolute control of state government for the last six years and our state is a financial mess and a laughing-stock. Conversely, as Chairman of a county larger than six states I have shown that with good leadership, government can reduce spending, engage in long-range planning, cut property taxes attract good jobs and still deliver good services to its residents. I have led a fiscally conservative and responsible government for the last eleven years that stands in stark contrast to the governance of the State of Illinois or Cook County.

Secondly, I provide Republicans with a better chance of victory in November, because I am the only centrist Republican in the primary field. Over the last decade, Illinois has become more and more Democratic. We need a Republican nominee who can attract swing suburban voters who tend to be fiscally conservative but are moderates on social issues. I think that my record and my centrist views give me a better chance of attracting those key voters and winning in November.

* Sen. Bill Brady…

- ilrino - Wednesday, Oct 28, 09 @ 11:15 am: Senator Brady: Your campaign is all about not raising taxes but reviving the economy by bringing back the 700,000 jobs Illinois has lost. How do you bring back 700,000 jobs and how quickly will they be restored to revive the economy?

Ilrino, the 700,000 jobs Illinois has lost is over ten years time. Obviously, it is my goal to restore these jobs as quickly as possible. I believe the best way to do that is, by offering incentives for new businesses to come to Illinois and existing businesses to stay in Illinois.

Last week, I launched my statewide jobs tour in which I highlighted my plan to offer tax incentives to businesses — large and small — that create new jobs. Every job in Illinois generates $4,200 for the state. I will give up to half that back to a business for every new job it creates. I believe $2,100 per new job will go a long way in helping business owners, while also getting an unemployed Illinois resident back to work.

I will also expand Illinois’ EDGE tax credit to apply to payroll taxes in addition to income taxes. This will especially help new and small business owners, who typically don’t make money in their first couple years in business.

- Kang - Wednesday, Oct 28, 09 @ 4:38 pm: As Governor, will you abolish the death penalty or re-instate the death penalty? Reform or further study answers must be interpreted as dodges given that the commission’s findings and recommendations have been out there for several years now.

Kang, As Governor I will lift the death penalty moratorium put in place by former Governor George Ryan nearly a decade ago. I support the death penalty for the most heinous offenses, but will ensure adequate safeguards are in place to prevent innocent people from being put to death.

- Anon - Wednesday, Oct 28, 09 @ 11:31 am: How do you give the Republican Party a better chance than your opponents of winning in November?

Anon, Illinois needs a clean break from the Chicago-style politics and politicians of the past. As the only downstate candidate in the race for Governor, I offer that change. I am also the only candidate with both business and legislative experience. I will run Illinois like a business, balancing our budget and making sure we live within our means like Illinois families and small businesses do.

* Comptroller Dan Hynes…

1) - Justice - Wednesday, Oct 28, 09 @ 11:27 am: Give us just two examples, with detail, of how you would trim the budget to help make up for the revenue shortfall. Give us two examples of what you would do to increase revenue in the short term, and if they are tax increases will they have a sunset clause?

As Comptroller, I offered Governor Quinn numerous ideas for how we can cut waste out of government. As a candidate for Governor, I have put together a comprehensive plan to address the state’s massive budget deficit. The first step in my plan is to cut more than $1.6 billion in spending. Among the specific cuts (the entire plan is available for viewing at my website, is firing half of the Blagojevich political appointees making more than $70,000, saving roughly $100 million. Before anyone says this is a weak example, let me remind you that many of these folks have been instrumental in driving our state into the ditch we’re in, so not only is this a cost-saving measure, it’s a chance to improve performance. I am also advocating for the elimination of discretionary contracts for such things as tourism and lottery advertising, time-keeping systems, and other professional services. Collectively, these contract reductions would save the state upwards of $300 million a year. Additionally, I believe we need to scale back operations spending to 2005 levels. Now some may say, “How do you do that without reopening union contracts?” I have done it in my office. In fact, operations spending in my office is below 2001 levels and I have never reopened a union contract.

In terms of revenue enhancements, the second part of my plan includes expanding the sales tax to include luxury services; increasing the cigarette tax by $1.00 and then using those proceeds to obtain $1.5 billion bonding, which would trigger a federal match of at least $1.5 billion (I think this is the kind of strategic, long range planning that is missing at the moment); competitively bidding additional casino licenses; returning the tax on casinos to 70 percent for certain income levels; and leasing unused or dormant gaming positions to busier casinos. These things could be done immediately (as the question asked) to help address the revenue shortfall. However, the ultimate solution is to make our tax structure fairer, and the best way to do that is to implement a graduated income tax.

2) - Wumpus - Wednesday, Oct 28, 09 @ 11:49 am: 2 part question
1. Why are you good for the people of IL?

We are currently in the midst of the worst fiscal crisis in the history of Illinois and we aren’t getting the leadership we need to get out of the mess. Whether it’s careening from crisis to crisis or switching positions on key issues from one day to the next, Governor Quinn has not been a steady and consistent leader, and it’s taking its toll. I offer the people of Illinois a record of fighting for fiscal discipline, even when it means taking on leaders in my own party, and a desire and a plan for returning Illinois to prosperity.

2. What was Judy thinking?

The best I can think is that she thought, perhaps, a loss to Rod in 2006 would open the door in 2010 to the Illinois dream job: Comptroller. I wish her well, but unfortunately for her, I feel pretty good about either David or Raja carrying the torch.

…ADDING… Gov. Pat Quinn…

Illinois has seemingly abandoned economic development - specifically business attraction, entrepreneur/small business development and foreign direct investment. Also, other states are aggressively trying to get Illinois companies to move/relocate because of the Illinois business climate. What are your thoughts and/or solutions?

This recession has been tough on Illinois. Our agriculture and auto industries have been hard-hit. The economy is changing, and we must change with it if Illinois is to succeed in the worldwide competition for good jobs. Under my economic plan, Jobs and Growth for Illinois, we will go beyond infrastructure investments – important as they are – to expand Illinois’ business base and attract new investment.

Today, for example, Illinois is the sixth-leading state in exports. Since 2002, exports have represented the greatest growth segment in the Illinois economy, increasing from $25 billion to nearly $54 billion last year. We need to build on that success and invest in expansion of Illinois’ overseas markets for agricultural products, manufactured goods and services to create new jobs here at home and generate new state revenues.

Part of that strategy includes making broadband available and affordable for everyone in Illinois. It’s hard to imagine running a small business with international clients using a dial-up service. The internet opens huge worldwide opportunities to entrepreneurs in every corner of the globe, and we want to make sure that Illinois businesses aren’t left out.

My focus on creating green jobs and investing in new sources of sustainable energy will help Illinois businesses keep their energy costs low so they can invest in expansion. And because green energy is local energy, green energy jobs, by definition, cannot be exported.

To make sure we have knowledgeable business owners and skilled workers, I believe we need to invest more in community colleges, which are the gateway to the middle class. Illinois Jobs Now! includes $400 million for community colleges, which provide the technical training for young people and adult workers to find good jobs in the new economy. Going forward, we need to identify funding sources to invest even more in Illinois community college system and its students.

ADDING… Dan Proft…

In 250 words or less, what does the IL-GOP stand for?

For 30 years or more both parties have been fiscally irresponsible, what is your plan to get the state back on the road to solvency?

I am not sure what the ILGOP stands for today. But here’s what we should stand for—and who we should stand for:

What we should stand for is policy revolution in Springfield—and I mean revolution. We should offer a complete rethinking and reordering of all of the big-ticket systems in state government (Medicaid, K-12, transportation infrastructure, pensions), not a single one of which is financially sustainable in current form and not a single one of which who serves the people who play by the rules in Illinois—the folks that pay the bills but get gamed by a system that provides very little in return in terms of services or benefits.

Which leads to our second task: defining our constituency and then serving that constituency. The Democrats have clearly defined their constituency: public sector unions, trial lawyers. And they have demonstrated the willingness to do whatever it takes to serve that constituency and finance it.

As I alluded to above, our constituency must be people who play by the rules in Illinois.

I am speaking of those who budgeted for the home they bought and pay their mortgage on time but are still on the hook to finance the irresponsible actions of others.

I am speaking of those who have seen their 401Ks take significant hits and yet are still responsible to finance multiple public pensions for the politically connected.

I am speaking of the small businesses with less than 100 employees who create 95% of the jobs in Illinois and who don’t get bailed out when they make a bad strategic decision or suffer bad luck in the marketplace.

I am speaking of those families who told their children to take their scholastics seriously so they could get into a quality state university that mom and dad could afford and instead have been subject to a system that provides admission to those with superior clout over those with superior academic records.

Democrats speak in the parlance of “shared sacrifice”. Republicans must argue, as I have, that people who play by the rules in Illinois have sacrificed more than their fair share only to be scammed in return. Republicans must speak be conversant in the language of “expanded opportunity” both to re-establish the party’s brand and to re-establish the state’s fiscal sustainability:

We must cut taxes and impose statutory spending caps to expand opportunity for entrepreneurs; to reward work and investment; and to restrain the public sector from crowding our private sector capital formation and job creation.

We must end the discrimination of children based on their household income and their address when it comes to the quality of schools they can access. If we change how the money flows and change who gets to make spending decisions, we can expand opportunity for the children of low-income families to earn the kind of quality education that sets them on the path to be successful, independent adults. What if the ILGOP was willing to tie its electoral fortunes to the aspirations low-income families have for their children based on the quality of schooling they were able to obtain? That would be a party with a value proposition. That would be a party that we could be proud of. That would be a party that could be the majority party in Illinois again.

We must connect Medicaid-eligible Illinoisans (1.7 million in total) to health care providers. If we created premium assistance programs that provide low-income folks with the opportunity to purchase health insurance in the private marketplace and empower them to manage their health care decisions like anyone else, we would improve the quality of care Medicaid recipients receive while instituting cost-containment incentives that respect Illinois taxpayers who finance they system.

The time for tinkering on the margins in state government has long since passed. If we are serious about reforming state government and making Illinois a vibrant, growth state again we must: (1) drastically alter the tax/spend/borrow policies that drive our economic climate and drive the cost structure we present to business; and (2) we must offer a specific policy vision that rethinks the incentives provided and the obligations imposed by the big-ticket systems in state government so that those systems produce outputs that demonstrably improve the quality of life for Illinois residents.

* The Question: How would you rate their responses?


  1. - Wumpus - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 11:27 am:

    Rich, I think I love you! I may also cross party lines and vote for Dan Hynes based on his answering my question.

  2. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 11:28 am:


    OK, now answer my question.

  3. - OdysseusVL - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 11:28 am:

    Does McKenna understand that he was an insider? This refusal to accept reality is almost Blago-esque. It is becoming creepy.

  4. - RJW - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 11:35 am:

    I think McKenna’s response is by far the worst b/c it looks like he didn’t even write it, or worse he has such a big ego that he refers to himself in the third person. Whether the others did I don’t know but at least it appears they wrote their own responses. Also, his response is like reading a campaign ad. Of course all of the responses are going to be in that mode, but his is like a copy and paste job from somewhere.

  5. - RobRoy - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 11:49 am:

    Dillard: typical for him, avoided a direct answer….”as Gov. Edgar’s blah, blah, blah”.
    2 thumbs down
    McKenna: “True outsider” ??? and did not answer the question, but gave talking points 2 thumbs down
    Shillerstrom: Answered the q’s directly and pretty well though some resume promoting going on. 1 thumb up, 1 sideways
    Brady: Answered the q’s directly and with detail, real economic and job strategy. 2 thumbs up
    Hynes: answered q’s directly and with detail, real examples of waste, I don’t like the tax idea but at least he’s honest. 2 thumbs up
    Quinn: sort of answered the q but it was weak, broadband the answer to making Il competitive? puhleeze. That is an iddy-biddy piece. He’s lost in this job. 2 thumbs down

  6. - Deep South - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 11:52 am:

    I wouldn’t touch McKenna with a 39-and-a-half foot pole….Dillard sounds best of the Republicans, IMHO.

    Nice detail from Hynes…Quinn does seem to be in over his head…but I wanna see some real campaigning before committing.

  7. - Pat collins - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 11:53 am:

    Bob S shows he can stay on message with the number of times he repeated “bigger than six states”.

    He does list specific accomplishments, but no details on his plans.

    Kirk D just lists his resume. Weak.

    McKenna is platitudes, weaker than Kirk D!

    Brady answers the tough Q directly, and has some details.

    Dan H lists his details also. Like the shot at JBT also, classy, but a shot :)

    If Quinn thinks green jobs can’t be exported, who makes all the windmills we see? Some where in Germany, I think.

    Proft addresses the issues in a clean and appealing manner, but wish there was some detail on how to do those things.

  8. - Fan of the Game - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 11:56 am:

    Dillard answered the first question well–showing what he can do and the votes he can get.

    Why is McKenna speaking of himself in the third person? Who believes he is a political outsider?

    Schillerstrom’s answer shows promise for a fiscally conservative base, but using DuPage county as a mirror for the rest of the state seems far-fetched. See how that plays in Alexander County. His promotion of himself as a centrist might help…if he’s really a centrist. Talk of cutting taxes might chase some of those centrist voters away.

    I personally like Brady’s tax incentives for business, but will that message sell in the anti-business climate we’ve created in this country?

    Proft’s Us v. Them answer turns me off. I want solutions, not blame-placing.

    So the ratings (from lowest to highest, did not include the Democrats):
    5. McKenna
    4. Proft
    3 (tie). Dillard/ Brady
    1. Schillerstrom

  9. - northsider - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 11:58 am:

    Senator Dillard claims credit for bringing the state out of recession w/Edgar why is he not to blaim for the tax increases and expolsion in Government spending when he worked for Jim Thompson that caused the “Mountains of debt”? You can’t claim one and ignor the other. What fight has he taken on in the last 10 years of the civil war? Didn’t he stand w/Jim Edgar supporting Judy Barr Topinka when she announced for Governor? That caused the biggest rift in the party in 100 years. He will end up Like Judy Barr Topinka if he won the primary the base will stay home and the 9/12 and patriot movements will vote constitution party.

  10. - shore - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 11:59 am:

    Proft has the best answer if he had a more legit background, he’d be the better candidate.

    Dillard, Brady and Mckenna have the weakest, they’ve all had some leadership in the state gop and all failed. If Mckenna were the nominee the democrat could start measuring the drapes February 3rd. Dillard is stuck in the past. No thanks.

    I don’t care about the democrats.

  11. - Angry Republican - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 12:05 pm:

    /sarcasm mode on
    Obviously my questions rate a 10
    /sarcasm mode off
    I liked Proft’s answers, but he has too much negative baggage to win the primary or general.
    Coming in right behind Proft is Dan Hynes; he provides details instead of platitudes.
    Two thumbs down to all of the other responses; they all say a lot without saying anything. Andy McKenna is almost as bad for IL-GOP as George Ryan; just go away already Andy!

  12. - MrJM - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 12:07 pm:

    Andy McKenna’s pose as a “true outsider” is offensive to anyone who follows Illinois politics. That makes his answer the worst of the lot.

    – MrJM

  13. - OdysseusVL - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 12:08 pm:

    An additional note — being from Cook County, alway just assume the DuPage Republicans are incompetent and corrupt. However, I was impressed by Bob Schillerstrom. This is the first time that I can recall where there are two GOP Gov. candidates that I would consider voting for (Dilliard also, but I’m getting tired of the fact that Edgar is his only message).

  14. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 12:12 pm:

    The shots at McKenna for talking about himself in the third person are unfair. The piece was submitted by staff and worded accordingly.

  15. - soccermom - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 12:13 pm:

    In 250 words or less, what does the IL-GOP stand for?

    I Like Getting Out-Played?

  16. - I Want My GOP - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 12:16 pm:

    I agree Rich, and must have glanced past your disclaimer…

    But how is it that all the other candidates had the time or inclination to give a thoughtful personal response, and McKenna did not? Is it unfair to question what that symbolizes?

  17. - who's making illinois windmills? - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 12:17 pm:

    Illinois workers:

    Winergy Drive Systems Corp. and Siemens Drive Technologies have opened a second plant in Elgin, IL, to meet the growing demand for alternative and renewable energy sources. The new plant currently stands at 170,000 square feet, but can be expanded up to 330,000 square feet. Winergy is said to be the largest producer of wind turbine gear drives in the United States.

    The company’s first plant in Elgin will be maintained to manufacture the gears and components that will be assembled and tested in the new plant. It will also house the services and repairs business.

    The new plant is expected to create approximately 300 new jobs in production and 55 new office jobs over the next three to four years—which is more than double the current number of employees in the original Elgin plant for mechanical drives.

  18. - Carl Nyberg - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 12:19 pm:

    I find McKenna’s claim of being an “outsider” a combination of dishonest and insulting.

    If he’s got a plan, explain it and make the case.

    But it’s weird to claim to be an outsider after being chair of the state GOP.

    If the chair of the state GOP is an outsider, who isn’t an outsider?

    If McKenna were chair of the Greens or the Libertarians, I could buy the whole “outsider” claim.

    McKenna can call anybody on the GOP side and get his call returned. Not everyone running for governor can make that claim.

  19. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 12:20 pm:

    ===Is it unfair to question what that symbolizes? ===

    It’s unfair for a couple of reasons.

    First, McKenna was probably more honest than the others. Do you think all of those guys (with the exception of Proft) personally wrote those submissions? They might’ve, I suppose, but I doubt it.

    Second, McKenna’s campaign asked me if the submission should be from staff or from the candidate and I said either way.

  20. - On Dan and his Plan - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 12:24 pm:

    From the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy

    The Quinn and Hynes proposals would also have different consequences for Illinois’ fiscal
    outlook, as they would generate substantially different amounts of revenue. If the Quinn plan
    were fully implemented in 2011, it could be expected to generate approximately $3.1 billion in
    additional tax revenue. In contrast, if the Hynes proposal were in full effect that year, it is projected to yield a notably smaller amount of roughly $2.2 billion.

    (footnote 7 on page 5 of the report)

    ITEP’s projection of the amount of revenue that the Hynes proposal would generate in 2011 is significantly lower than the amount anticipated by the Hynes campaign. Campaign materials downloaded from on September 8, 2009 and entitled Leading Illinois Forward: The Hynes Plan for Tax Fairness & Fiscal Responsibility claim that the graduated income tax plan put forward by Comptroller Hynes would produce $5.5 billion on an annual basis. ITEP has been unable to establish the basis for such a claim.

  21. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 12:31 pm:

    ===ITEP has been unable to establish the basis for such a claim. ===

    I’ve read that report and ITEP didn’t explain how they came up with their numbers, either.

  22. Pingback Peoria Pundit » Rich Miller gets your questions answered - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 12:37 pm:

    […] This is why I dig Capitol Fax. Rich Miller asks his readers to send him the questions they would like to ask the many candidates for governor. He emails them to the candidates. And by the next day, they respond. […]

  23. - just sayin' - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 12:41 pm:

    Hynes shows a mature sense of humor. Good for him.

    Meanwhile Andy McKenna’s handlers show their typical arrogance. The more McKenna is mocked for the ridiculous claim of being an outsider, the more they double down on using the preposterous term for Andy.

    As far as McKenna being any kind of reformer, that’s a joke too. McKenna never lifted a finger to clean up his own party during 4-plus years as the party chairman. McKenna was even too much of a wimp to ever make a public call for Bob Kjellander’s resignation.

    Every Republican up and down the ballot will have a tougher time in 2010 thanks to the lousy job McKenna did as chairman. It will take years to recover and recovery hasn’t even started.

  24. - Gregor - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 12:44 pm:

    The repubs ought to show Judy more support this time around. She was right and they were all wrong the last time.

  25. - Justice - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 12:46 pm:

    I think Hynes and Brady win this round, with both dealing directly with the questions asked.

    I like Schillerstrom but find the “large as seven states” comments a bit overboard. The political realities of Illinois are much, much different.

    Dillard, I missed his plan in his message?

  26. - El Conquistador - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 1:09 pm:

    Brady and Hynes were the best hands-down. I would not normally be inclined to vote for either, but if they can stay this direct throughout the campaign I might be willing to change my mind. The others were all just spouting campaign talking points (to varying degrees of success.)

  27. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 1:12 pm:

    WOW! What an awesome job Rich! That’s incredible.

    First off, I can definately understand why each person, with the exception of McKenna, has supporters. That speaks to how well each candidate addressed these questions. Whether it was their staff, or whether it was in person, the answers you gathered were insightful. Each candidate had something to contribute to this conversation. Except McKenna, but that was obvious, so I’ll stop right there regarding his response.

    In conclusion, Rich, you did an admirable - and fair - job. Almost every candidate can claim that your framed their responses fairly and with little bias.

    The surprises. Schillerstrom surprised me. I don’t usually give someone who holds the political position of County Chairman, much credit. But Schillerstrom’s responses sounded strong. He presented himself well. He exceeded my expectations. Proft has a polished answer to every question, and is able to capture memorable soundbites that sound intelligent and well informed. I can see now why he has supporters. The downside is he has no experiences that can be a foundation from which to govern. He may be an attractive candidate, but he frankly is talking persuasively about something he really doesn’t know enough about. He sounds like a great campaign manager, a great political PR guy, and a great speechwriter. But that isn’t gubernatorial material, is it? Dillard’s responses were top-notch. Kirk Dillard has both the ability to speak effectively, and has the experience I, as an Illinoisan, would be looking for in our next governor. He has Schillerstrom’s knowledge, and has enough experience to know what he is talking about.

    I can now clearly understand why Democrats are concerned about Kirk Dillard - his answers outshined both Governor Quinn and Comptroller Hynes, and he has the heft of experience to boot. He looks, and sounds, like the next governor right now, doesn’t he?

    Dan Hynes sounded like Dan Hynes. His responses sounded immediately dull and reading through his answers were like being forced to read one of those awful “word questions” forced upon us by our Algebra teachers in Junior High. Dan sounded sincere, but unbelievably uncharismatic. But he sounded better than Quinn, didn’t he? Quinn is governor, but he didn’t sound like one that could give us real reasons to elect him. While I could relate to him on a human scale and consider the numerous challenges we face in the years to come - Quinn sounded beaten by the challenges. He sounds tired. There isn’t that naive spark in his answers that the others had.

    Lastly Bill Brady. The guy didn’t say anything I hadn’t heard before, and rejected before. He isn’t on the same level of Schillerstrom or Dillard. He isn’t on the same level as Hynes. He lacks the touch of Proft. As I was reading through his answers, my brain cells felt as though they were listening to “The Macarena” for the 400th time, and he was one of those old internet hamsters doing the dance along with the music. His campaign answers sounded like repeats of an old television show you used to love twenty years ago, but now wonder if it really was a bad as it looked to you today. OH - did I say “lastly”?

    Nah! Bottom of the barrel, actually leaking out of the bottom of the barrel and getting the dirt all muddy and nasty was Mr. Andy McKenna. Pee-Yoo!

    Finally, thank you - thank you for such an outstanding job Rich! You are the best, Dude!

  28. - Small Town Liberal - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 1:13 pm:

    I’m not overly impressed with any of the answers, but I have an issue with one of Hynes’ claims. He acts as though ending the contracts for lottery and tourism advertising will save upwards of $300 million, but he never addresses the possibility that the state could lose more than that in revenue if lottery sales and tourism decline because of it. That said I do like that Hynes brought up the federal match that we’re leaving on the table which is a pretty large amount of money to forget about.

    Quinn has some good ideas, but I would have liked some more detail on how they’re funded and what the expected gains are.

    I think its strange the way Schillerstrom keeps saying how his county is bigger than six states.

    It would be nice if Brady would elaborate on how he would ensure no innocent person was put to death.

    Proft’s answer doesn’t impress me at all (and I’m pretty sure he went over 250 words). Did Newt Gingrich write it for him? Is he afraid to say the word “voucher” or is that not what he’s talking about in the children’s education paragraph? His whole answer is like a right wing talking point memo.

  29. - southpaw - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 1:15 pm:

    I agree with Justice & El Conquistador.

    Both Bill Brady and Dan Hynes are the top front runners in their responses - as they dealt directly with the questions.

  30. - Eric Zorn - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 1:25 pm:

    Proft is at 713 words. Color inside the lines, Dan!

  31. - shore - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 1:33 pm:

    Dillard worked for Thompson and then congratulates himself for fixing a 1.6 billion dollar deficit he created. Huh?

    McKenna’s selfless contributions to society. Translation-I gave away my fathers money. What’s the more overhyped resume point, andjewiskis think tank, or McKenna’s outsider status? The guy is the chicago establishment and in case anyone’s wondering we lost 2 congressional seats, a senate race, every statewide office in his term, and then there was that presidential debacle.

  32. - Rambler - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 1:40 pm:

    It’s the traditional left/right divide.

    Dems: We’ll do a little trimming along the edges, if we get around to it. Give us our tax hike first though, then we’ll see. Oh, and about that little pension thingamadoodle — $79 billion and growing — we have a plan for that. Ray Guy is dropping back 15 yards behind the line of scrimmage.

    Repubs: We’ll cut taxes and “grow” our way to a balanced budget. Someone once called that voodoo economics but hey, it worked out real well for Dubya, and gave us a good strong economy too.

  33. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 1:42 pm:

    Andy McKenna didn’t realize it at the time, but his responses also included an answer as to why Illinois has been a single party Democratic state while he headed the Illinois GOP.

  34. - southern illinoisan - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 1:49 pm:

    Kudos again to Rich Miller and the Capitol Fax. This blog has truly become a powerful informational force in Illinois politics. How else can you explain the candidates responding in a serious and timely manner? Great job, Rich.

    I think Hynes and Proft win this round. Both addressed specific issues in a thoughtful concise manner. I doubt Proft will gain much traction, but he will appeal to those Republicans who are seeking to break from the past. Hynes is fighting an accidential incumbent and yet he still seems to be having trouble in a head to head battle with PQ. I think he should rethink his strategy and take the gloves off now. Hit PQ early and often…

  35. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 1:53 pm:

    Reading all that er, content a second time after reading comments…only made my splitting headache worse.

    Here you go:

    Dillard: Poor. Predictable, phoned-in answer with obligatory Edgar reference. I can’t believe he is claiming experience in the judicial branch based on being a lawyer. The few specifics offered show promise.

    McKenna: Terrible. The Outsider who wouldn’t can Individual K.

    Schillerstrom: Fair. He actually took a swing at the bat, if you will, but the multiple “DuPage is awesome” references won’t carry a campaign.

    Brady: Average. Points deducted for bad grammar; this ain’t the warmups. Crisp, direct answers to 2 0f 3 questions, but the “run the State like a business” is both a fantasy and a non-answer imho.

    Proft: Good, but… Well-written, hits themes that will “resonate” with many voters. I don’t like the jacket he hangs on the unions. This piece would be compelling if it was the words of another candidate with less junk in his trunk.

    Repubs in order: Brady, Schillerstrom, Dillard, Proft, McKenna.

    Quinn: Poor. The hot air this guy produces could heat the Capitol and fuel a good-sized wind farm. His response is typical, even when he received a whiffer of a question. Let’s give free broadband and raise business taxes to pay for it. Heckuva plan. The only thing I liked was the recognition that community colleges are playing a greater role in post secondary education in the 21st Century.

    Hynes: Good. Direct answers and closes with a little snarky humor we don’t see very often. AA thinks most of the numbers in his plan don’t add up, so that’s a tiny problem.

    Dems: Hynes kicks Quinn’s butt.

    Overall winner: Hynes.

  36. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 2:01 pm:

    Eric, lol. I forgot to mention that about Proft.

    VM, Thanks for reminding me-Rich, this was an excellent idea. Thanks much for making it happen.

  37. - RobRoy - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 2:40 pm:

    Amending my early comments since Proft’s remarks were added. He answered the question in the most articulate (albeit lengthy) manner but it was worth the read. Two thumbs way up. The best of the lot.

  38. - Kang - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 3:03 pm:

    I’ll stick to grading Brady’s answer since it was my question. I think he clearly stated his position. As for SmallTownLiberal’s question on how Brady would ensure that a wrongfully convicted person would ever be executed, I think the answer is that he can’t. However, if you’re pro-death penalty like Brady, I think you have to believe that you can. Otherwise, you must accept the idea that executing a wrongfully convicted person is an acceptable cost for executing other guilty people.

  39. - Kang - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 3:05 pm:

    Sorry, I meant “NEVER” be executed, not “ever”. I wonder what the heinous offenses would be to be death penalty eligible? That list usually expands over time no matter what.

  40. - TaxThePoor? - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 3:07 pm:

    To be honest, I’ve aleady decided they all …. are not good. I often like Proft, but not as a Governor. How about a candidate’s response from another established party?

    Hynes’ tobacco tax plan looks similar to Blago’s lottery selling scheme if you ask me. It isn’t good long range planning at all, as claimed. The plan is to spend future tobacco tax revenues now. That is actually pretty stupid long term planning on Dan Hynes part. What happens when future tobacco tax revenues don’t match expectations, as usual, and we’ve already spent them? More of the same fiscal problems they’ve put themselves into today. Passing the buck a few years down the road doing more harm than good.

  41. - Kane Conservative - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 3:20 pm:

    schillerstrom continues to impress. he started, in my book, as an also ran. but as the campaign seems to progress, its him and proft who seem to be remaining true to their core. proft is just really smart and comes off as such, and grows on you. schillerstrom clearly is showing his experience as a remarkable plus. the dillard…all things to all people…is getting a little old. and brady-i mean i want to like him, but its so hard. on the other side, even though i wont be voting that way, quinn just keeps putting more and more distance between he and hynes

  42. - TaxThePoor? - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 3:33 pm:

    This from Green Party Rich Whitney’s website is an intelligent idea that rarely is seen from candidates that get gobs of cash from banks doing business with the state.

    “This is an old Progressive idea that needs to be revived. North Dakota is the only state that has its own bank and, as a result it is just about the only State that is not struggling with a deficit problem. In fact, with a population of just 600,000 people, it is now enjoying a surplus of $1.2 billion. All tax revenues go into the State bank, which then has the power to loan money and reap the benefits of interest income, utilizing a fractional reserve system like any commercial bank, while financing services and projects that support the public policy of the State. Instead of borrowing money from private banks, and paying it back to them, with interest, the State can be making money that can eventually lower the tax burden on the people.”

  43. - Small Town Liberal - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 3:38 pm:

    Kang - Exactly

  44. - wordslinger - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 4:08 pm:

    AA’s analysis is excellent, but I’m still down on Brady for the 700,000 job fantasy.

    Would he rehire the two-thirds of his payroll he layed off under his tax-incentive plan? No. State government is very small when it comes to the economy.

    I love the concept of asking the questions and am intrigued by some of the answers, but the reality remains:

    – $12 billion deficit in a GRF of, what, $34 billion? No one’s even close to addressing that.

    After we square that, we can talk about the future.

  45. - LincolnLounger - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 4:13 pm:

    Schillerstrom’s answers were well done; however, I’m glad I’m not the only one that is sick to death of the “DuPage is larger than six states” stuff.

    Interesting response by Proft. It seems the one with the least credentials had the most to say.

  46. - Rich Sr - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 4:44 pm:

    My compliments to all of you! I hope the state of embarassment that the state of Illinois has been in for so long can be put behind us soon. Sensible thoughts coming out of Schillerstrom will make me listen more closely to what he has to say in the future. Hynes once again deserves respect for his statements. Proft always fires me up with his words and I stand ready to join in his revolution! We need one badly. Brian would’ve loved this exercise Rich. Keep up the good work. Dad

  47. - ABCBoy - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 4:55 pm:

    I get that McKenna’s answers could have been more specific here, but people blaming McKenna for the GOP losses in 2006 and 2008 are simply out to lunch. Ronald Reagan himself couldn’t have engineered wins during those cycles. In 2006 people still hadn’t gotten the full extent of the Blago mess, and the GOP was suffering from Iraq War and Bush fatigue, congressional scandals, etc. And 2008 was an historic election where Obama was the overwhelming front-runner with monster coat-tails here in Illinois. EVERYBODY knew it, including the A-List donors and would-be candidates.

    Trying to get A-listers to cut large checks and put their political careers on the line in 2006 and 2008 was going to be an unfeasible task. I credit McKenna for at least stepping up to the plate and giving it a go. It’s more than can be said of most people who normally shrink from difficult circumstances such as the 2006-2008 cycles.

  48. - Responsa - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 7:00 pm:

    I think Proft’s response demonstrates he’s got his thumb on the pulse of the average joe voter in Illinois better than any of the others. He’s hit on the hot button issues that people are worrying about at home and talking about in the office break room. Yeah, his answer was long but there’s a lot of ground to cover. Don’t know if he can win, but he’s on the right track. People comment that Proft has baggage, but really don’t all the candidates to some degee? Dillard did OK. Of the Dems, Hynes came out strongest. PQ not so much. Quinn needs to do a much better job of explaining what he’s improved in the past nine months as a foundation deserving of a full term as governor.

  49. - whoa! - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 9:07 pm:

    proft has the best message of everyone, which is so funny b/c he can’t win a primary or a general. or can he? Now that would be even funnier / scary!

  50. - Joe - Thursday, Oct 29, 09 @ 9:14 pm:

    Where’s Adam’s response?

  51. - Old Town Joe - Friday, Oct 30, 09 @ 1:13 am:

    Proft has the best message, but I’m not sure he is the best messenger. He is an ideologue angry from a decade and a half of abuse at the hands of Chicago Dems.

    But damn his message is SPOT ON! He has diagnosed the problem correctly. I just hope McKenna doesn’t buy this election.

  52. - Six Degrees of Separation - Friday, Oct 30, 09 @ 8:54 am:

    North Dakota has a homogenous population, lots of federal government spending per capita, a relatively low demand for government services, and is rich in petroleum and agricultural resources. Not hard to see why their bank is full.

  53. - indupage - Friday, Oct 30, 09 @ 8:55 am:

    Proft was asked to state what the GOP in Il stand for in 250 words…he used 714…what might that mean?

  54. - Conservative Warrior Princess - Friday, Oct 30, 09 @ 11:20 am:

    Why was Adam Andrzejewski ommitted from this?????

  55. - Rich Miller - Friday, Oct 30, 09 @ 11:22 am:

    Because he didn’t respond.

    I have a response now and will be running it soon.

    Take a breath.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Isabel’s afternoon briefing
* Beyond the horse race
* Cannabis baron ridicules equity programs: "We’re going to give these assets to felons and people that have two heads and all this kind of stuff"
* IEPA says it won't do anything about polluting refineries
* Pritzker stands behind his messaging, claims support for candidates
* A quick Illinois history lesson
* Vallas gets out in front of attacks
* Following the money
* A massive failure
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today's edition
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
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