Disgraced Governor, Democratic Leadership Attacked in Republican Debate - NBC Chicago

Disgraced Governor, Democratic Leadership Attacked in Republican Debate



    Disgraced Governor, Democratic Leadership Attacked in Republican Debate
    panoramio.com / fish667
    The Illinois Statehouse

    There were no fireworks, but certainly glimmers of disagreement among the seven Republican candidates running for governor of Illinois during their first debate Thursday at the Chicago Hilton and Towers.

    The state's disgraced governor and the democratic leadership were the targets moreso than each other.

    "Democrats can elect Mickey Mouse if they want to, they've done that," said Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington, referring to former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

    "Pat Quinn is Rod Blagojevich with less hair," said businessman Andy McKenna.  His hair theme is part of his TV blitz and is the first of the candidates to be on television.

    Sen. Dillard, who once cut a TV spot for President Obama's Iowa campaign, did his best to distance himself, saying "I'll be damned if I'll watch socialized medicine" takeover in Illinois. 

    Dillard also said that it's time to cut "free rides for millionaires," referring to the free transit rides that Gov. Pat Quinn originally planned to cut, but deferred that decision when faced with opposition.

    The latest entry to the race  -- former Atttorney General Jim Ryan -- was the only candidate who said "health care must be reformed."   Ryan announced his campaign this week.  He lost to Blagojevich in 2002.  

    Each of the candidates was asked why they were qualified to oversee the Illinois National Guard and public safety.  Most promised to modernize the Guard and hire professionals with experience in military and security work.

    Brady said Illinois residents should be able to carry concealed weapons to protect them from the kind of violence that struck Fort Hood on Thursday.

    Businessman Adam Andrzejewski said public safety could be increased by keeping a closer eye on immigrants to make sure they weren't in the state illegally.

    The Republican nominee will be running in a state that has grown more solidly Democratic over the years, but there are some bright spots for the GOP.

    Blagojevich is scheduled to go on trial next summer, reminding voters of that Democratic scandal. The incumbent governor, Pat Quinn, spent six years as lieutenant governor under Blagojevich.

    Quinn faces a challenge from Comptroller Dan Hynes, so whoever wins could end up weakened by the battle.