Illinois Statehouse News
CHICAGO – Less than two weeks before voters cast their ballots in Illinois, the top two candidates for governor once again took to the television to square off in a debate. And once again Bill Brady and Pat Quinn hammered on each other while hitting their own talking points.
Democratic Gov. Quinn and his GOP opponent Brady, a Bloomington state senator, met in Chicago for a debate sponsored by ABC 7 and the League of Women Voters, their third debate in close to a week.
But the face to face question and answer session produced few new answers. Instead Quinn and Brady whacked each other with political zingers.
Brady hit the governor, once again, over the controversial prisoner early release program.
"Gov. Quinn has been operating a government of secrecy. Secret pay raises, secret early release programs. [Gov. Quinn] talked about public safety, governor it is not in the interest of public safety to release 1,700 inmates early."
Quinn responded with a crime and punishment zing of his own.
"With respect to public safety, [Brady] is hardly one to talk about that. He voted against a bill that would have barred child abusers and spouse abusers from having guns. I believe we should bar those people from having guns[all together]."
The two didn't stop there. Attacking each other over jobs, the economy, and taxes. Quinn said Brady all but promised a tax increase if elected.
"He even said so at the State Fair. That when he, perish the thought, would ever become governor there would be a natural rise in property taxes in Illinois."
Brady turned Quinn's own phrase against him.
"Governor, perish the thought you'd ever tell the truth. I've never talked about raising property taxes and you know it."
Quinn, who is trailing in the most recent polls, seemed to rely on his time-tested strategy of trying to paint Brady as too conservative.
"I inherited the worst recession in our lifetime from George Bush. he was President, I didn't support him, my opponent did. [Sen. Brady] was a big ardent supporter of George Bush's failed economic policies."
Brady countered with campaign go-to theme that Gov. Quinn has had his chance in the governor's office and didn't step-up.
"Governor's lead, they don't punt. Gov. Quinn has punted on jobs and taxes. We cannot afford a governor who cannot stand-up and lead.
University of Illinois at Springfield political science professor Chris Mooney said voters shouldn't be surprised.
"By this time what's out there is out there. And it's really all about a ground game."
Mooney said while debates do influence Presidential races, he thinks too few voters watch gubernatorial debates. And those who do watch, don't get much of substance.
"I would say it's more about individual voters getting a sense of the candidates. I think [debates] are still valuable."
If the debate does not sway voters, Mooney said it could fire-up loyal voters. He thinks with so little time before Election Day, both Quinn and Brady are hoping to use the debate to get their base voters to the polls.
Brady and Quinn are trying to do just that, with a flood of new TV ads and last-minute campaign swings. Voters will go to the polls on Nov 2.