8/11/2014: New poll shows Rauner leading incumbent Quinn. NBC 5's MaryAnn Ahern reports.
Gov. Pat Quinn has called on Republican challenger Bruce Rauner to "come out of the gopher hole" and commit to debates ahead of the general election.
Quinn's campaign says the Chicago Democrat has confirmed his appearance at eight debates and forums ahead of the Nov. 4 election along with a ninth potential venue. Rauner's campaign says the businessman plans to appear at a number of debates and will announce those dates "soon."
Quinn told reporters Monday that debates are voters' best chance to see candidates side by side on the issues.
Rauner participated in fewer debates than his GOP opponents ahead of the four-way March primary, something that prompted criticism from those challenging him.
"Pat Quinn's been in this position many times," University of Illionis political science professor Dick Simpson said. "He's often behind, and like a thoroughbred, he often catches up. He's a pretty good campaigner, and he will need those skills this time around."
A recent Chicago Sun-Times poll found Rauner ahead of Quinn by a nearly-51-percent-to-38-percent spread with 11 percent undecided. The survey’s margin of error was plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
Quinn is seeking a second full term. This is Rauner's first run for public office.