By Mark Weyermuller -
The 2014 Republican gubernatorial hopefuls squared off Thursday night in the third debate in three days. The three contenders that showed up at Benedictine University in Lisle Illinois included Bill Brady, Kirk Dillard, and Dan Rutherford. The fourth, Bruce Rauner, chose to attend the Dupage Tea party event in nearby Darien.
The event was sponsored by WIND 560AM, the Illinois Policy Institute, and Michael Jakubiec Investment Real Estate. It was aired live on the radio with about 350 people in the venue. WIND personality and former Congressman Joe Walsh did live commentary before and after the debate in the lobby.
The usual debate punches, jabs and uppercuts took place, which I won't go into. One interesting question from WIND 560's Amy Jacobson stunned the candidates. She announced as "breaking news" that the Chicago Tribune had just endorsed Bruce Rauner and she wanted their thoughts. I don't think they they prepped for this question as none seemed excited to comment.
While Rauner's podium sat empty, his name was mentioned 49 times by my count during the long two hour debate. Most indications and polling show Rauner winning the primary to face Democrat Pat Quinn in November. It's not over yet, eleven days till Election Day.
In a strange twist, the lieutenant governor debate was held at the same time on WTTW-channel 11 with all the candidates participating. I have found little media coverage of this event held in Chicago.
The final debate will be Thursday, March 13, 2014 at the WTTW studios in Chicago sponsored by the City Club of Chicago. This event is $100 to attend but may include open bar beforehand.
The primary is Tuesday, March 18, with early voting going on now.
Mark Weyermuller is a citizen journalist which often contributes to Illinois Review. Send us your contributions at firstname.lastname@example.org.