With exactly a month to go before Election Day, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and his Democratic challenger J.B. Pritzker will face off in a debate of sorts on Tuesday in front of the Sun-Times Editorial Board.
The hourlong endorsement session — which will be streamed live at suntimes.com/election at 9 a.m. — comes just two days before the two are scheduled to meet for their last televised debate in Downstate Quincy.
Rauner on Monday began airing a television ad seeking to make light of a Cook County inspector general report that called a Pritzker tax break that he received, in part, by removing toilets from his second Gold Coast mansion a “scheme to defraud.” Rauner has continued his efforts to try to question the billionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist’s character.
Pritzker in turn has highlighted what he calls “four years of failure,” including the budget impasse and a deadly Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at a veterans home in Quincy, the site of Thursday’s debate, where the controversy will no doubt come up. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office said last week a criminal investigation has been opened to determine whether Rauner’s administration handled the outbreak and public notification in a timely manner.
Both candidates have pointed fingers at others for their scandals. Pritzker called the inspector general report “politically leaked.” Rauner blames the attorney general investigation on Madigan’s father, Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan, Rauner’s political nemesis — claiming the powerful Southwest Side Democratic is pulling the strings for Pritzker.
And all that drama doesn’t even get to the heart of some of the state’s most dire problems, like what remains of a $7.3 billion bill backlog and the state’s pension mess.
Rauner has already received the endorsement of the Chicago Tribune. Crain’s Chicago has endorsed Pritzker.