Bruce Rauner

Toilets, Taxes and Strangleholds: Candidates for Illinois Governor Square Off in First Televised Forum

You can watch the forum in its entirety here.

The candidates running for Illinois governor squared off in the first televised forum of the general election Thursday, sharing the stage for the first time amid an already contentious and expensive race.

NBC 5 Political Editor Carol Marin started things off by questioning Democratric challenger J.B. Pritzker about toilets.

"You've saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in property taxes by having toilets disconnected in your Gold Coast mansion," she said. "First of all, who unhooks all their toilets?"

Pritzker defended the toilet tactic saying many residents of Cook County have property tax reassessments and his family put their housing project on hold while the assessment took place.

Rauner defended his comments earlier this year saying he was "not in control" of Illinois. He doubled down on that sentiment by bemoaning the political corruption he said is spread at the hands of House Speaker Mike Madigan. He said Madigan has a "stranglehold" on Illinois politics.

Marin noted that Libertarian candidate Kash Jackson has been found in contempt of court for failing to pay child support. She asked why voters should be confident in his ability to handle a $38 billion budgeted business in the state of Illinois.

"I’m a perfect example of what happens when a member of our community get caught up in judicial system that they're woefully and painfully unaware of," Kash, a Navy veteran, said. "I served my country for 20 years. For 20 years I served this country. And then to come home to Illinois and to have to fight to be a father. You see, Lake County, much like the rest of Illinois, is setting support orders that sometimes exceed national recommendations by twofold."

Kash said a Lake County judge told him he would have to turn over 40 percent of his income. He said the lawmakers that write the laws that calculate how child support is paid and is an example of a failed legislature in Illinois.

Sen. Sam McCann was asked if his connections to a Washington, D.C. union that has funded Madigan's campaign. Specifically, Marin asked McCann if he was simply in the race to take votes away from Rauner.

"We're in this to win it," McCann responded. "We're in this to be the next governor of Illinois, and I will be in charge. The McCann administration will take charge of state government and the governor that the people of Illinois have been crying out for for the last four years, nay, the last 20 years." 

McCann also said he was proud to have the support of "those working people" and mentioned several times his interest in working with the federal government to help the state of Illinois.

The entire event was broadcast live on NBC 5, on and on the NBC Chicago app. It was also subtitled live in Spanish on Telemundo Chicago, and on the Telemundo Chicago app. [[492867501, C]]

Marin moderated the roundtable conversation, with reporters Mary Ann Ahern and Karla Leal taking questions from the audience.

With less than seven weeks left before Election Day, the third-party candidates looked to make more of a name for themselves in the race, while Rauner and Pritzker sharpened the attacks they've launched at one another over television airwaves for months.

Pritzker and Rauner have both dumped millions of dollars from their own personal fortunes into their campaign coffers, affording them the chance to advertise both for themselves and largely against one another, even before winning their respective party nominations in March.

After the forum, the candidates participated  in a Q&A session that was streamed streamed exclusively on the NBC 5 and Telemundo Chicago digital platforms.

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