Candidates Attempt to Differentiate at GOP Gubernatorial Debate

By Mary Ann Ahern
|  Monday, Jan 11, 2010  |  Updated 2:30 PM CDT
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Chicago's Political Players

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Illinois candidates for governor are finding they'll need to distinguish themlseves in order to break out of the pack of seven and took aim at each other during a Monday morning debate in Chicago.

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Illinois candidates for governor are finding they'll need to distinguish themlseves in order to break out of the pack of seven and took aim at each other during a Monday morning debate in Chicago.

State Sen. Kirk Dillard turned the ethics spotlight on the two considered the frontrunners: Jim Ryan and Andy McKenna.

Dillard questioned Ryan's relationship with his longtime former friend Stuart Levine, who is now serving time in prison for charges tied to former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's pay-to-play years.

"Jim Ryan has a friend, his largest contributor, who is sitting in a federal prison holding cell," he said.

Dillard also questioned why former Illinois GOP Chairman McKenna -- who, while chairman, commissioned a poll to see how GOP candidates would do -- and then decided himself to get into the race.

State Sen. Bill Brady joined Dillard in asking questioning McKenna, who did not attend the forum.

"He doesn't want to explain why he misused $28,000 that he needs to pay back to the party."

Monday's debated also focused on how to get the state on better financial footing.

Adam Andrzejewski said he wants a top-to-bottom audit of the state's books.

"I don't need permission from the Chicago Democrats," he said

He said he didn't "need permission from the Chicago Democrats" to whom he feels GOP leaders cave.

Dan Proft said video poker legislation is the wrong way to go and was just "a new way for the legislature to manipulate" the budget.

DuPage County Chairman Bob Schillerstrom kept it basic.

"It's simple. The state just can't spend more than it takes in," he said.

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