The current race for Illinois Comptroller is turning out to be one of the most expensive and heated contest on the statewide ticket.
Incumbent Leslie Munger faces City Clerk Susana Mendoza in what is dubbed as a proxy war for Gov. Bruce Rauner against House Speaker Mike Madigan.
“I’m very independent in my role,” Munger has said.
“I’m not Michael Madigan,” Mendoza said.
Still, whether it’s out shaking hands or via television ads frequenting the air waves, the comptroller race is taking center stage.
Munger has a war chest of $6.8 million, while Mendoza’s sits at $2.1 million. As Munger looks to distance herself from Rauner, Mendoza does the same from Madigan as well as Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
“I’ve stood up to the mayor when it was necessary to do so, even at the height of his popularity,” Mendoza said.
The comptroller decides who gets paid first, and with Illinois facing difficult budget times many are waiting.
“You cannot promise to pay for things when you don’t have the money to pay for it and you have to live within your means,” Munger said.
But Mendoza has criticized Munger for allegedly approving millions of dollars in bonuses.
“I will always look to prioritize the most vulnerable populations first and not do what just happened last week, which is that our current comptroller approved bonus payments, performance bonuses up to the tune of over $7 million,” she said.
Munger notes the bonuses are not at her discretion, but the are instead part of the established pay.