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Debate coverage roundup

Friday, Sep 21, 2018

* If you missed it last night, the debate video is here. From NBC 5

NBC 5 Political Editor Carol Marin started things off by questioning Democratric challenger J.B. Pritzker about toilets.

“You’ve saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in property taxes by having toilets disconnected in your Gold Coast mansion,” she said. “First of all, who unhooks all their toilets?”

* CBS 2

Two billionaires with big names and two others that are less familiar all blamed each other for the state’s problems.

The debate in the race for Illinois Governor began with toilet talk as J.B. Pritzker addressed unhooking the johns in his Gold Coast mansion for tax breaks.

“That was a tax reduction that we received,” said J.B. Pritzker, (D) candidate for governor.

“To own a mansion and take the toilets out where he does not pay the proper taxes and to use your inherited wealth to try to buy political office,” said Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner.

* Tribune

A bitter race for Illinois governor that has played out in TV attack ads for more than 16 months carried over to the debate stage Thursday as Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic challenger J.B. Pritzker assailed each other’s character and integrity before voters.

But in the first face-to-face meeting of the contenders for governor, it was Rauner’s exchange with third-party candidate Sam McCann, a Downstate Republican state senator running under the Conservative Party banner, that was the sharpest. […]

Rauner said of McCann: “He has received funding from Mike Madigan for his campaign. He was put on the ballot by Mike Madigan’s attorney.”

“You’re a liar. You’ve been lying to the people of Illinois from the very beginning,” McCann replied.

* Sun-Times

“He has received funding from Mike Madigan for his campaign. He was put on the ballot by Mike Madigan’s attorney,” Rauner said.

“You’re a liar,” McCann responded. “You’ve been lying to the people of Illinois from the very beginning. You said you had no social agenda and all you’ve been able to accomplish is to make yourself the most progressive liberal governor the state of Illinois has ever had. You’re a liar and a thief.”

“Are you getting paid on a per interruption basis by Madigan or a lump sum?” Rauner asked the senator. Rauner said McCann had one purpose of being on stage: “to help Pritzker be victorious for Mike Madigan.”

“We’re here to take both of you out,” McCann said to both Pritzker and Rauner.


During the hour-long debate, the two came armed with grenades.

“It’s easy for you to sit on the sidelines when you haven’t done an honest day’s work in your lifetime,” Rauner said.

“You are failed governor. You’ve failed every year,” Prtizker responded.

The men also clashed on taxes. To shore up state finances, Pritzker is proposing a graduated income tax, but he is not saying what the rates will be.

* Daily Herald

While the two had a brief consensus on immigration reform, most policy discussions degenerated into sniping.

On reducing gun violence, Rauner, a venture capitalist from Winnetka, said “the simple, biggest fact is we need more jobs and more economic growth.”

Pritzker interjected, “You know — people who want to get jobs and want to get trained — and you cut funding for people who want skills training. You’ve got it all backward.”

Rauner told the Hyatt hotel heir, “It’s easy to sit on the sidelines and criticize when you’ve not done an honest day’s work in your life.”


The heated moments continued — from arguments over the record-spending in this governor’s race to issues such as integrity and Illinois’ historic budget impasse under the Rauner administration.

“You’re a failed governor,” Pritzker said. “You have failed through every year of your term. It is abominable to me. and it’s time for a change in the state.

“I will respond with this,” said Rauner. “Mr. Pritzker — your lack of character, your lack of integrity, your cheating on your property taxes, your cheating on your income taxes. you’re trying to use your inherited wealth to buy political office from imprisoned Rod Blagojevich.”

* AP

But Pritzker refused during a debate Thursday, as he has throughout the campaign, to detail what those [progressive income tax] rates should be. He says the Legislature should decide, while Rauner says Pritzker is dodging the question because he “cannot be trusted when it comes to taxes.”

“He doesn’t want to talk about it because the truth is so painful and politically unpopular,” Rauner said.

“Gov. Rauner you’re lying,” Pritzker responded. “He’s defending a system that’s good for him, and it’s bad for middle-class taxpayers.” […]

Pritzker blamed Rauner for Illinois’ yearslong state budget impasse, which brought huge cuts to social services, higher education and other programs and took Illinois to the brink of having its credit rating downgraded to “junk” status. And he criticized Rauner for constantly blaming others — namely Madigan — for the failures of his administration, noting the governor declared late last year that “I am not in charge” of Illinois.

“The truth of the matter is, Gov. Rauner has got to go,” Pritzker said.

* Politico

It was a nasty night of name-calling as all those ugly TV ads came to life on stage for the first TV debate in the governor’s race. Voices were raised. Integrity was questioned. And then, just before the screen switched to commercial, there was J.B. Pritzker putting his hand out to Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner—and he took it. What theater!


The moderator asked Rauner and Pritzker if the tens of millions of dollars they’ve spent on this campaign embarrasses them. Pritzker answered first.

“I think this race is about values, not about money. It’s about what we’ve been doing our whole lives to stand up for working families across the state and standing up and expanding early childhood education in the state of Illinois,” said Pritzker.

Rauner scoffed at Pritzker’s comments saying, Mr. Pritzker has inherited billions of dollars. There’s nothing wrong with that but what’s unethical and just deceitful is for him to keep that money in the Bahamas where he does not pay any taxes.”

* ABC 7

When election hacking came up, it was the Libertarian Kash Jackson’s turn to rip both parties.

“Why are we worried about the hackers when right here, the General Assembly, the democrats and republicans continue to rig elections year after year,” Jackson said.

* Patch

Pritzker blamed the governor’s intransigence for a historic two-year budget shortfall, five public Illinois universities falling into “junk” credit status and eight credit downgrades that have left the state the worst-rated in the nation.

“You’re the biggest deficit spender in the history of Illinois,” Pritzker said. “You’re a failed governor, you have failed every single year of your term. It’s abominable to me, and it’s time for a change in this state.”

Rauner responded with a line he repeated several times during and after the debate.

“Your lack of integrity, your lack of character, your cheating on your taxes, your trying to use your inherited wealth to buy political office from imprisoned governor Rod Blagojevich,” meant the Democratic nominee was “not worthy of public office,” according to the third-least popular Republican governor in the country.

…Adding… One Illinois

Similarly, when the death penalty came up, Pritzker defended his reasons for opposing it, while Rauner launched into a diatribe on corruption.

“This is a question about the death penalty,” reminded moderator Carol Marin.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Saluki - Friday, Sep 21, 18 @ 9:50 am:

    Four people running for Governor. Two are spoiled rich kids. Two are spoiler candidates.

  2. - Arsenal - Friday, Sep 21, 18 @ 9:56 am:

    ==Two are spoiled rich kids==

    I kinda have trouble calling them “spoiled” given that Rauner’s dad, while doing well, wasn’t nearly as rich as Rauner, and given all the family trauma Pritzker went through.

  3. - wordslinger - Friday, Sep 21, 18 @ 10:08 am:

    I thought the rapid-response efforts from the Pritzker and Rauner crews was interesting.

    Pritzker had not only his campaign, but many lawmakers and other supporters blasting on twitter throughout.

    Rauner’s efforts seemed limited to just his campaign. Where were all his GOP GA buddies he’s spent so much money on? Watching “Family Guy” reruns?

  4. - El Conquistador - Friday, Sep 21, 18 @ 10:08 am:

    Rauner came off as angry and bitter and as a consequence unlikable. That sells to the angry bitter 25-30% of voters that are his base (unfortunate for him, the GOP, the state and the country). And will not win an election.

    Dark negative politics are a sure loser. People are tiring of all the mean spirited stuff.

  5. - MSIX - Friday, Sep 21, 18 @ 10:09 am:

    Alas, “debating” is a lost art. Mudslinging insult-fests like this are not debates. How crude we’ve become. Utterly depressing.

  6. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Sep 21, 18 @ 10:14 am:

    Incumbents need to look like they are keeping their jobs by being what other candidates are not.

    Rauner is being seen as nasty, if not more nasty, angry, if not more angry, and less in charge than even Rauner admitted.

    Dunno if the coverage grows Rauner’s constituency.

    That’s really the ball game, isn’t it?

  7. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Friday, Sep 21, 18 @ 10:19 am:

    I don’t see Madigan’s name on any contributions for McCann at the IL State Board of Elections website.

  8. - Seats - Friday, Sep 21, 18 @ 10:21 am:

    Articles seem overall more friendly to Rauner than watching his performance deserved imo. His angry accusations seem to be making a lot of the print, but when you read them they don’t come across as much like an Angry man yelling at any and everyone.

  9. - IllinoisBoi - Friday, Sep 21, 18 @ 10:26 am:

    ==Wordslinger: Rauner’s efforts seemed limited to just his campaign. Where were all his GOP GA buddies he’s spent so much money on? Watching “Family Guy” reruns? ==

    No — reruns of “Dad’s Home State.”

  10. - Arsenal - Friday, Sep 21, 18 @ 10:29 am:

    ==I thought the rapid-response efforts from the Pritzker and Rauner crews was interesting.==

    Not watching the debate live and only following it on Twitter was quite an experience. You’d think Rauner never spoke.

  11. - Arsenal - Friday, Sep 21, 18 @ 10:35 am:

    One interesting thing here is just how much Rauner’s okee-doke on his own incumbency falls apart under the slightest pressure. Sam and JB successfully made him where the jacket for most of Illinois’ ills last night, and even had him defending the current tax system in the state.

    I don’t see much of that making its way into the media coverage, so it’s only so valuable, but it really shows how weak Rauner’s “Don’t blame me” strategy is.

  12. - Techie - Friday, Sep 21, 18 @ 10:40 am:

    From MSIX “Alas, “debating” is a lost art. Mudslinging insult-fests like this are not debates. How crude we’ve become. Utterly depressing.”

    I very much agree. A few weeks ago I watched the first debate between Al Gore and George W. Bush, then compared it with the first debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

    There was a very noticeable difference in the tone of the debate. For better or worse, Bush presented himself as having some similar values as Gore, just with different and better ways of achieving positive results. I think most rational people can agree he was an utter failure on many levels, but the debate was actually that - a discussion of whose ideas will better achieve a shared set of goals.

    As an aside, if you watch that first Gore/Bush debate, you might notice that Gore sounds an awful lot like Bernie Sanders on a number of issues.

  13. - Back to the Future - Friday, Sep 21, 18 @ 10:49 am:

    I would have voted for Carol M. - - she did a great job.
    I really do dislike Bruce, but I think he “won” the debate.
    His comment on JBP not doing an honest day’s work in his life
    is being repeated by news folks. It also ties into issues like Toilet Tax Deductions, Bahamas Money storage to avoid taxes, Blago tapes that JBP folks just don’t or won’t address well, how much will taxes go up under JBP and hotel workers strike.
    Was glad to hear JBP is putting his toilets back.
    Going further out on a limb, Kash Jackson did ok.

  14. - @misterjayem - Friday, Sep 21, 18 @ 11:25 am:

    “following it on Twitter was quite an experience. You’d think Rauner never spoke.”

    Sounds lovely.

    – MrJM

  15. - I Miss Bentohs - Friday, Sep 21, 18 @ 11:37 am:

    Where were all his GOP GA buddies he’s spent so much money on? Watching “Family Guy” reruns?
    You are wrong sir. We watched The Browns.

  16. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Sep 21, 18 @ 11:51 am:

    ===No — reruns of “Dad’s Home State.”===

    - IllinoisBoi -

    How great was it HBO did a 24 hour marathon.

    It was tough for the cast and crew, watching how it all went South.

    To the Post,

    How Rauner takes Pritzker to task for his answers could be the only saving grace from yesterday.

    Incumbents attacking, and not having a record to run on is rarely a good look.

  17. - Stumpy's bunker - Friday, Sep 21, 18 @ 11:58 am:

    Rauner’s snarling method of topic-avoidance & counterattack soundbites may be red meat for the angry outback, but will not serve as successful bait for thinking people, IMHO.

  18. - Demoralized - Friday, Sep 21, 18 @ 1:33 pm:

    ==“This is a question about the death penalty,” reminded moderator Carol Marin.==

    That would require the Governor to deviate from his standard answers. The man doesn’t think well on his feet.

  19. - Anonymous - Friday, Sep 21, 18 @ 2:31 pm:

    It was a mudslingin’ fest ,,,but Rauner came far and away with the most mud on his face.

    Illinois politics have reached a new low?

    Personally, I feel no sense of schadenfreude…just sorry for the sorry state our State has been left in by Rauner’s failure to govern with fairness and compassion.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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