* Sen. Kirk Dillard’s best zingers from last night’s debate…
“I’ll give Mr. Rauner a pass tonight on pay-to-play,” Dillard said sarcastically, before outlining Rauner’s hiring of convicted influence peddler and ex-state pension board member Stuart Levine as a consultant and Rauner’s $300,000 contribution to former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a Democrat, before Rauner’s investment company got a boost in pension funds from that state.
Dillard, who Friday won an endorsement from the Illinois Education Association, also tore into Brady for voting on tax increment finance district legislation that Dillard said financially benefited the Bloomington Republican and for initiating a 2010 bill to allow animal shelters to kill rabid strays en masse.
“The demise of his campaign began with an idea that he had to mass euthanize animals. That began the drumbeat that made him a vulnerable candidate,” Dillard said, outlining how Brady’s 2010 gubernatorial run began unraveling almost from the get-go.
* Sen. Bill Brady’s best zingers…
“Sen. Dillard’s ad for Obama, saying he’d serve our country well as president of the United States, is a non-starter among most Republicans and, frankly, independents,” Brady said, alluding to a 2008 commercial Dillard cut for Obama during the presidential primary.
“And with all due respect to Mr. Rauner, his support of Rahm Emanuel doesn’t serve well with Republicans in a primary,” Brady said, referring to the close, personal friendship Rauner and the mayor have. “It doesn’t work to win elections.”
* Brady also got in some shots at Dillard before the debate…
Gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady lashed out at competitor Kirk Dillard, accusing him of allowing politics to guide his “no” vote last December on a landmark — but controversial — pension bill. […]
The comments follow Dillard winning the endorsement from the Illinois Education Association last week. The IEA supported Dillard in 2010, pumping $250,000 into his campaign. If the group gives Dillard a similar amount or more, he may have the capability to get some TV ads in rotation the last week before the March 18th primary. Last year, Dillard voted against a controversial pension reform plan that was strongly opposed by public sector unions. The pension bill now faces legal challenges.
“He sold out on pension reform,” Brady told the Sun-Times.” There’s no question. His campaign wasn’t going anywhere. His Lt. Gov. (Jil Tracy of Quincy) voted for it. He’s used every excuse in the book. He was trying to throw life support to make a political decision which amongst Republican primary voters is really hurting him when you talk to them.”
* Rauner tried again to explain the Payton Prep stuff…
Also on the hot seat was candidate Bruce Rauner.
His daughter won admission to the Near North Side’s Walter Payton College Prep, one of the finest high schools in Illinois. Around that time, billionaire Rauner gave $750,000 to two Chicago Public School foundations.
Rauner initially denied discussing his daughter’s application with then CPS CEO Arne Duncan, now the U.S. Secretary of Education. Rauner apologized Tuesday for what he said last summer to veteran Springfield political reporter Bernard Schoenburg.
“Arne Duncan and I would talk regularly, because I’m very involved and have been for 25 years in school reform in Chicago, very involved in charter schools, vouchers, school choice. So, I talked to Arne regularly. I don’t really recall much of the conversation that my wife and I had around the time of our daughter’s application to Walter Payton College Prep. The important issue we did not ask for any special treatment,” Rauner said.
* But nobody could really say last night how they’d balance the budget if the tax hike expires…
Rauner said the state needs to “reduce spending dramatically,” although the only specific program he mentioned was Medicaid. He said he would appoint a task force to reduce waste and the overall cost of government.
Dillard said he would grow the economy and cut waste in Medicaid, while Brady went a step further and said he wants to end the state income tax entirely. He did not specify areas of the budget to cut.