The four candidates running for the Republican nod in next month’s gubernatorial primary squared off at a debate in Springfield Tuesday. The debate, moderated by WTAX News Director and Brand Manager Alex Degman, aired live on Newsradio 1240 and 107.5 FM WTAX. State Senators Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard, Treasurer Dan Rutherford and businessman Bruce Rauner trotted out their talking points on issues like pensions, taxes and unions.
The four were also asked about an issue of interest to those living downstate; moving state jobs back to Springfield from Chicago. Dillard, Brady and Rutherford said they would if they were elected.. Rauner, however, was non-committal. “The issue boils down to cost and productivity,” said Rauner.
The candidates were also quizzed on social issues. Senator Brady was asked about and affirmed his positions that school districts should be allowed to choose between teaching evolution and intelligent design and his pro-life stance. Senator Dillard was asked if he would repeal the gay marriage law if elected: he said no.
The debate was mostly civil, however a few of the candidates worked in a dig or two near the close of the debate. Dillard said the demise of Brady’s campaign four years ago was introducing legislation to mass-euthanize animals. Brady shot back saying that Dillard’s ad for Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign shouldn’t sit well with Republican voters.
State Treasurer Dan Rutherford was asked about the release of an internal, tax payer funded investigation into sexual harassment charges leveled by a former employee. Rutherford says he can’t release the report on the advise of his lawyer but says he wants to get the information out there.
The primary election is March 18th. Early voting begins March 3rd.