He is the only non-elected official of the four republicans running for governor and first-time candidate and venture capitalist Bruce Rauner is leading the polls, the only one currently with enough money to run TV ads.
But rivals said Thursday during a debate that Rauner is naïve, and questioned the role he played in his company’s ownership of nursing homes.
“Unfortunately we really don’t know much about Mr. Rauner because he’s never been in office or run for office,” said Sen. Bill Brady.
And Brady also attacked the 6-year-old ad tying Dillard to President Obama.
"He’s not a reliable republican," said Brady.
But Dillard claims otherwise.
"The minute I found out that he was going to be a presidential nominee I called him and said pull that ad," he said.
The candidates agreed on immigration reform, the need for pension reform and attacking Gov. Pat Quinn.
Dan Rutherford was the only one to bring up the allegations he faces of misconduct by a former employee.
“These allegations are false and I know cannily how tough this has made my campaign,” he said.
And once the debate ended, it was front-runner Rauner who was quizzed on his relationship with Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
“I’m not the guy that made Rahm Emanuel rich, like Mr. Rauner,” Dillard said.