Gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady lashed out at competitor Kirk Dillard, accusing him of allowing politics to guide his “no” vote last December on a landmark — but controversial — pension bill.
Dillard responded by saying essentially that Brady was envious.
“It’s sour grapes on the part of Mr. Brady, I have a long, long history in interest in public education,” Dillard responded Tuesday. “The IEA support is much much more than my pension vote.”
The comments follow Dillard winning the endorsement from the Illinois Education Association last week. The IEA supported Dillard in 2010, pumping $250,000 into his campaign. If the group gives Dillard a similar amount or more, he may have the capability to get some TV ads in rotation the last week before the March 18th primary. Last year, Dillard voted against a controversial pension reform plan that was strongly opposed by public sector unions. The pension bill now faces legal challenges.
“He sold out on pension reform,” Brady told the Sun-Times.” There’s no question. His campaign wasn’t going anywhere. His Lt. Gov. (Jil Tracy of Quincy) voted for it. He’s used every excuse in the book. He was trying to throw life support to make a political decision which amongst Republican primary voters is really hurting him when you talk to them.”
Dillard has repeatedly defended his vote against the reform bill, saying it was dropped on lawmakers at the last minute.
“I never imagined the bill would be drafted over the Thanksgiving weekend, then cynically called for a vote the day after incumbent legislators knew they wouldn’t have new primary opposition. The 300 plus page bill was scheduled for debate and a vote on the same day,” Dillard wrote in a letter to the Sun-Times, defending his position. “I called for two days of hearings where all Senators would be able to ask questions regarding the bill. Importantly, the legislation didn’t force Governor Quinn to use any of the alleged savings to pay down the State’s huge backlog of unpaid bills or roll back the Democrat’s 67% income tax increase. I found the whole process rushed and tainted, even though the law does not go into effect until next summer.”
With Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford’s star falling in the GOP primary, expect escalating rhetoric from Brady and Dillard, who are jockeying to be the alternative candidate to GOP frontrunner Bruce Rauner.
Brady, who said he will go up with ads, contends that despite his own dismal fund-raising, his campaign’s internal poll numbers show he’s strong.
“Our base has always been solid,” Brady said.
Throughout the race, Brady has tried to distinguish himself from his colleagues because he is the only candidate in support of the pension reform bill.