The race for Illinois governor is getting even more heated as Democratic incumbent Pat Quinn faces a growing onslaught of attacks from his Republican rival, Bruce Rauner, who's almost gleeful in his efforts to corner Quinn on a number of hot-button topics from term limits to cronyism.
While Quinn has a state to run -- somewhere House Speaker Mike Madigan is laughing as he pulls the strings on a puppet version of the governor -- his businessman nemesis can fully devote time to wooing voters to his side by deploying robo-calls, mascots and other attention-getting strategies.
These past few days have seen Team Quinn playing defense and making some public gaffes in the process. See: the controversy over tweets from @QuinnForIL that linked to a Chicago Sun-Times opinion piece that compared black voters' support of Rauner to Jewish people working with the Nazis during World War II. (Backlash prompted Quinn's re-election campaign to scrub the evidence from social media and issue a mea culpa on Thursday.)
Without further ado, the latest updates in the mud-slinging showdown between Quinn and Rauner:
On Term Limits. After state Republicans proposed a plan to restrict legislators to eight years in office, Rauner took Quinn to task, saying Wednesday: "I strongly support this term-limits proposal. It is the perfect complement to our initiative for legislative term limits, and as governor, I’ll limit myself to two terms no matter what. Despite his current opposition to both term-limits efforts, I urge Pat Quinn to take on his party’s legislative leaders and side with the people of Illinois who support term limits across the board." Quinn swiftly moved to endorse the pitch, prompting a predictably skeptical response from Team Rauner. (Senator Mark Kirk, a Republican, won't even pretend to like term limits.)
On Patronage. Rauner is pressing Quinn to reveal documents linked to a federal complaint alleging unsavory hiring practices inside the Illinois Department of Transportation. Sounding off to The Associated Press, the GOP contender called for full transparency from the governor and accused his administration of perpetuating the cycle of cronyism. A Quinn spokesperson has countered by calling upon Rauner to make public his complete tax forms from the past five years.
On the Welcome Home Illinois Loan Program. Quinn, in Man of the People mode, visited Collinsville, Ill., on Thursday to stump for the initiative extending state loans to low-income residents buying homes for the first time. "We want to spread the gospel. The gospel means good news, and it's very good news for anybody who wants to be a homeowner, and is maybe living paycheck-to-paycheck, raising kids, working a job. We don't want to have folks left out." Rauner dismissed Quinn as a broken record who's hatched a similar program, Illinois Home Start in the past.
Stay tuned, Illinois voters. It's gonna be a bumpy ride.