-By Warner Todd Huston
The debate stage.
Tonight, February 10, WLS AM 89 talk radio, hosted a debate of what was supposed to be all four candidates vying for the GOP nomination for governor. Unfortunately, only three decided to accept the invitation to join the debate. Candidate Rauner decided not to speak to the six or seven hundred locals nor the WLS radio audience.
Snub: Bruce Rauner’s empty poduum.
In attendance were State Treasurer Dan Rutherford, and State Senators Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard. Not in attendance< was businessman Bruce Rauner. WLS talk show host Dan Proft moderated.
I have to say, most of what what was said by the candidates was run of the mill stuff they've all said 100 times before--and for some over several losing campaigns for the same office. But a few sparks did fly, one over a new issue and another over an old.
Rutherford and Brady sharing a laugh before the debate.
Firstly, though the biggest disappointment of the night was that all three candidates denounced Illinois being a right to work state and all dismissed the idea that the union should be limited in the Land of Lincoln. But since most are taking big donations from the union, I guess that shouldn’t be a surprise.
But the fact is, every Republican should be an opponent of government employee unions.
Senator Dillard answers a question.
As to the sparks, Senator Brady again took a jab at Senator Dillard and his appearance in a TV campaign commercial for his 2008 election. In the 2007 commercial, sexual harassment allegations that beset Dan Rutherford only hours before the debate began.
In the third part of the debate, the candidates were allowed to ask each other questions and for one of his questions, Senator Dillard asked Rutherford if there were going to be any other sexual harassment allegations forthcoming.
Rutherford was barely able to contain himself. But he started off his answer warning Dillard that his question was inappropriate. He then again when on to deny the allegations.
Other than those few jabs, the debate was mostly civil and moderator Proft had the event well in hand.
They all shake hands
Treasurer Rutherford surrounded by TV cameras as he entered the hall.